Earth Day 2020: What is Earth Day and why do we celebrate it?

Earth Day 2020 is just around the corner and scientists across the globe are calling on the public to take notice of growing environmental concerns. This year, Earth Day will celebrate its 50th anniversary after it was founded in 1970.

When is Earth Day 2020 this year?

Earth Day is celebrated by an estimated one billion people worldwide on April 22.

The first Earth Day was organised 50 years ago in the US, bringing together universities and schools across the country.

April 22 was chosen since it falls between Spring Break and final exams in the US.

Today, more than 190 countries participate in Earth Day.

The Earth Day Network said its goal this year is to “flood the world with messages of hope, optimism, and above all, action.”

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What is Earth Day and why do we celebrate it?

Earth Day was born 50 years ago due to growing concern for the environmental deterioration of the US.

The event was the brainchild of senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin.

In 1969, a devastating oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, spurred the US senator into action.

The Earth Day Network said: “Inspired by the student anti-war movement, Senator Nelson wanted to infuse the energy of student anti-war protests with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution.

“Senator Nelson announced the idea for a teach-in on college campuses to the national media, and persuaded Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman, to serve as his co-chair.”

Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency

Earth Day Network

Earth Day eventually grew into a global event, pulling together scientists and environmental activists.

Much like Earth Hour on March 28, Earth Day aims to raise awareness of issues like climate change and global warming.

Earth Day activities have taken upon themselves to fight industrial pollution, oil spills, toxic waste disposal and other pressing issues of the time.

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The Earth Day Network said: “By the end of 1970, the first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of other first of their kind environmental laws, including the National Environmental Education Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and the Clean Air Act.

“Two years later Congress passed the Clean Water Act.

“A year after that, Congress passed the Endangered Species Act and soon after the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.

“These laws have protected millions of men, women and children from disease and death and have protected hundreds of species from extinction.”

In 1990, Earth Day became a global event, pulling together some 200 million people.

Since then, up to one billion celebrate each year.

The US space agency NASA said: “Fifty years ago, on April 22, 1970, people around the world marked the first Earth Day.

“Thousands gathered to raise awareness about the importance of protecting our beautiful planet for future generations.

“On this Earth Day, as we physically separate ourselves by necessity, we can still collectively appreciate the wondrous beauty of our planet and the extraordinary science that helps us understand how it all works – and we can do it from our homes.”

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