What is Earth Day?
Earth Day is an event celebrated every year on the 22nd of April. The event is held worldwide to celebrate support for protection of the environment, and has continuously drawn more and more people in each subsequent year. Earth Day brings attention to a large number of issues in requirement of attention, such as pollution of the ocean, debris left over on land, climate change, conservation of the Earth’s ecosystems, energy conservation, soil corruption, corrosion, overpopulation, nuclear issues, the depletion of the ozone layer, the depletion of the Earth’s natural resources, the introduction of wastes and toxicants into the wilderness and the seas, nanotechnology, and the deforestation of rain forests.
Earth day was founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson on April 22, 1970 to focus on issues related to environment. April 22nd was chosen because it did not conflict with any religious holidays, and was on a week where students were free from exams and were more likely to be in class. Each major event has also hosted a high number of increasingly thrilling activities, throughout Earth Day’s forty year history.
- Earth Day was first celebrated on 1970 and is celebrated in a total of 192 countries. This very first Earth Day in 1970 was celebrated primarily by students in colleges and universities in New York City. The end of the day received extensive coverage from all the major news castors and drew a crowd of just over one million people, an impressive feat.
- The 20th Anniversary Earth Day in 1990 drew nearly two hundred million people in a total of 141 countries to bring the issue of environmental protection to the world stage. This Earth Day primarily drew in these crowds through more advanced marketing strategies such as e-mail, direct mail, and focus group testing. There were also various activities: members climbed and called from the summit of Mt. Everest to bring attention to world peace and environmental issues. They collected up to two tons of trash left behind on the mountain from previous climbing expeditions. Grassroots organizations also put together local coalitions to bring the attention of the environment to groups who had previously not supported Earth Day, and in an effort to win over their support. The 1990 Earth Day is particularly notable because it is the first year where Earth Day went global and drew in the participation of hundreds of foreign nations. The issues with the environmental were subsequently brought to the whole world’s attention.
- The 30th Anniversary of Earth Day was held in 2000. It held many of the same similar activities as the 1990 Earth Day, except with the added benefit of the internet, which organized the event on a massive scale and would prove invaluable for the years to come. The focus of this Earth Day was on clean energy and was produced on an even bigger scale than the 1990 Earth Day. It drew in 184 countries (44 countries up from 1990) and enlisted the involvement of over 5,000 environmentalist organizations. Earth Day activities for 2000 from forming a talking, travelling drum chain in Gabon, West Africa) and a gathering of thousands in Washington D.C.
- Today, Earth Day is the largest secular civic event in the world. It draws the support of over 170 countries and 17,000 environmentalist groups. For example, the 2007 Earth Day was the largest Earth Day event in history. Major cities hosting Earth Day events included Kiev, Caracas, Tuvalu, Manila, Madrid, London and New York. In 2012, the focus of the Earth Day event was on overpopulation of the Earth.
- Earth Day anthem by William Wallace is associated with earth day. Earth Day lyrics are set to the tone of Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” melody on which the official anthem of the European Union is based.
“Joyful joyful we adore our Earth in all its wonderment
Simple gifts of nature that all join into a paradise
Now we must resolve to protect her
Show her our love throughout all time
With our gentle hand and touch
We make our home a newborn world
Now we must resolve to protect her
Show her our love throughout all time
With our gentle hand and touch
We make our home a newborn world”
Earth Day remains one of the largest events the world has ever seen, and is only to continue to grow in future years to bring world attention to the even more environmental issues that will most certainly arise. It is absolutely critical that we take care of the Earth and its natural resources, and not only is Earth Day a time to celebrate that, it is a time to make a difference as well.
Earth Day Activities for Kids
April 22nd is the day to celebrate Earth Day with earth day games, activities, crafts and more! Below are 25 wonderful collection of ideas to celebrate Earth Day.
- Plant a tree. The best way to celebrate Earth Day is to plant a tree as it helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase the amount of oxygen, controls pollution, prevents soil erosion, controls floods, provides home to wildlife.
- Talk to your friends about saving water while brushing teeth, switching off lights and fans before leaving room, use both sides of a paper, avoid taking printout, avoid excessive packaged items, prefer locally grown food etc.
- Discuss with friends as to what steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint.
- Walk or ride your bicycle. You’ll save energy and help keep pollution levels down.
- Wear green clothes. Be environment friendly.
- Learn more about the environment. Research about environmental issues and come out with your own ideas to control them.
- Hold sessions and educate people about the environment. Inform people about our environment and explain why it is important to take care of it.
- Clean up litter on roads. This is one of exercise that helps you to keep your surroundings neat and clean.
- Sing or listen earth day songs. Download some songs from internet and sing them along with your friends. This helps other children to become interested in environmental topics.
- Participate in earth day fair organized by your school, local government, or local neighborhood. Earth Day fair includes demonstration of benefits of locally grown food products, children’s artwork, sale of recycled products, local environmental organizations educating people regarding environmental issues, children singing songs related to environment and more!
- Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Avoid packaged items and buy as little as possible. Recycle old jars, waste paper, cans and find other uses for things that you no longer use.
- Create beautiful work of art to show your concern for the environment. Show them to your class teacher and engage other children in conversations about your environmental concerns.
- Make a tree, hang it on a wall and write pledge such as I’ll use less paper, plant a tree each week, save and conserve energy, recycle more, reduce carbon footprint, volunteer in different environmental activities.
- Eat organic food. Plan a special Earth Day meal that is made from locally grown products, is healthy and has minimal impact on the environment.
- Make musical instruments out of recycled materials. It can be empty jars, toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, drink bottles, aluminium cans etc. It is so much of fun and creative for kids.
- Visit local crafts store for bags of shells or take a walk on a beach to find shells. Use those shells to create shell wind chime that can be hung in a garden where it will make lovely noise when moved by a breeze.
- Clean your school and learn how to conserve natural resources. On Earth Day, you and your friends can join hands to clean the school and tell other children not to litter around.
- Brainstorm ideas to conserve water, energy, soil, natural resources. Search on the internet and look out for alternative ways to save our environment.
- Buy grocery bags from grocery store and create awareness by writing earth day messages.
- Pinecone and peanut butter bird feeder is another such activity that kids enjoy the most. Let kids make some food for the birds, hang them outside and then wait for the birds to come and eat.
- Buy goods packaged with or containing recycled items. Also, look out for recycle symbol printed on the goods you do buy.
- Learn how composting keeps useful, organic waste out of landfills and create nutrients for the plants in your garden.
- Make a list of resolutions that will make you and your family little more environmentally responsible.
- Dispose off hazardous waste materials in recycling centers as cans of paint, batteries, other electronics when disposed openly could prove disastrous for the environment.
- Appreciate nature and complexity of planet earth at a time when our planet is in danger from climate change, overpopulation, deforestation, depletion of ozone layer, increasing pollution levels, exploitation of natural resources and other man-made problems.
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Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.
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By the early 1960s Americans were becoming aware of the effects of pollution on the environment. Rachel Carson’s 1962 bestseller “Silent Spring” raised the specter of the dangerous effects of pesticides on America’s countrysides. Later in the decade, a 1969 fire on Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River shed light on the problem of chemical waste disposal. Until that time, protecting the planet’s natural resources was not part of the national political agenda, and the number of activists devoted to large-scale issues such as industrial pollution was minimal. Factories pumped pollutants into the air, lakes and rivers with few legal consequences. Big, gas-guzzling cars were considered a sign of prosperity. Only a small portion of the American population was familiar with–let alone practiced–recycling.
Did You Know?
A highlight of the United Nations' Earth Day celebration in New York City is the ringing of the Peace Bell, a gift from Japan, at the exact moment of the vernal equinox.
Elected to the U.S. Senate in 1962, Senator Gaylord Nelson, a Democrat from Wisconsin, was determined to convince the federal government that the planet was at risk. In 1969, Nelson, considered one of the leaders of the modern environmental movement, developed the idea for Earth Day after being inspired by the anti-Vietnam War “teach-ins” that were taking place on college campuses around the United States. According to Nelson, he envisioned a large-scale, grassroots environmental demonstration “to shake up the political establishment and force this issue onto the national agenda.”
Nelson announced the Earth Day concept at a conference in Seattle in the fall of 1969 and invited the entire nation to get involved. He later recalled, “The wire services carried the story from coast to coast. The response was electric. It took off like gangbusters. Telegrams, letters and telephone inquiries poured in from all across the country. The American people finally had a forum to express its concern about what was happening to the land, rivers, lakes and air—and they did so with spectacular exuberance.” Dennis Hayes, a young activist who had served as student president at Stanford University, was selected as Earth Day’s national coordinator, and he worked with an army of student volunteers and several staff members from Nelson’s Senate office to organize the project. According to Nelson, “Earth Day worked because of the spontaneous response at the grassroots level. We had neither the time nor resources to organize 20 million demonstrators and the thousands of schools and local communities that participated. That was the remarkable thing about Earth Day. It organized itself.”
On April 22, rallies were held in Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles and most other American cities, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. In New York City, Mayor John Lindsay closed off a portion of Fifth Avenue to traffic for several hours and spoke at a rally in Union Square with actors Paul Newman and Ali McGraw. In Washington, D.C., thousands of people listened to speeches and performances by singer Pete Seeger and others, and Congress went into recess so its members could speak to their constituents at Earth Day events.
The first Earth Day was effective at raising awareness about environmental issues and transforming public attitudes. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “Public opinion polls indicate that a permanent change in national priorities followed Earth Day 1970. When polled in May 1971, 25 percent of the U.S. public declared protecting the environment to be an important goal, a 2,500 percent increase over 1969.” Earth Day kicked off the “Environmental decade with a bang,” as Senator Nelson later put it. During the 1970s, a number of important pieces of environmental legislation were passed, among them the Clean Air Act, the Water Quality Improvement Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act. Another key development was the establishment in December 1970 of the Environmental Protection Agency, which was tasked with protecting human health and safeguarding the natural environment—air, water and land.
Since 1970, Earth Day celebrations have grown. In 1990, Earth Day went global, with 200 million people in over 140 nations participating, according to the Earth Day Network (EDN), a nonprofit organization that coordinates Earth Day activities. In 2000, Earth Day focused on clean energy and involved hundreds of millions of people in 184 countries and 5,000 environmental groups, according to EDN. Activities ranged from a traveling, talking drum chain in Gabon, Africa, to a gathering of hundreds of thousands of people at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Today, the Earth Day Network collaborates with more than 17,000 partners and organizations in 174 countries. According to EDN, more than 1 billion people are involved in Earth Day activities, making it “the largest secular civic event in the world.”