How On Earth We Can Save the Planet

Staff Writer: Haley Roe-Deters





Everyone has their own opinions about this “holiday.” It is not really considered a holiday, it’s more of an event to bring awareness about the health of our planet. It is celebrated worldwide, with rallies, conferences, outdoor activities and service objects.

It started as a simple movement to bring publicity to the Environmental Protection Agency. It also contributed to the passage of the Clean Air Act, the Water Quality Improvement Act, the Endangered Species Act, and several other environmental laws. The idea was proposed by Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin.

The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970. Nelson started the worldwide event after the massive oil spill in California in 1969. He was inspired to bring the public up-to-date on the environmental issues.


Typical poster of the event known as Earth day. Picture credits: Creative commons



In order make this event public, Nelson recruited Denis Hayes. He was a politically active regent of Stanford University, as well a national coordinator. This world-known event started with only 85 people. However, these 85 people were able to round up 40 million people across the United States on April 20, 1970. Universities held protests, people gathered in public areas to talk about the environment and how we can help it.

“Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values,” according to the Earth Day network.

On the 10th  anniversary of Earth Day it was clear that people were realizing what we were doing to the planet. In 1995 Nelson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Bill Clinton. This is the highest honor given to civilians in the United States.

In 1990 this event went global. 200 million people in 141 countries participated in this celebration. In 2000 Earth day had 5,000 environmental groups and 184 countries. Hayes organized a campaign that focused on global warming and clean energy.




Volunteers helping to plant trees for Earth day. Picture Credits: Creative Commons







In 2010, for the 40th anniversary, 225,000 people gathered at the National Mall for a climate rally. Earth Day launched a campaign plant 1 billion trees, which was accomplished in 2012. However we lose up to 15 billion trees a year. That’s 56 acres of forest.

Earth day is not only about trees and the planet, but it’s also about different species. We have entered a sixth mass extinction brought on by global human activity. However, we are getting better at preventing extinction.

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