In 1969, when a major oil spill took place off the coast of Santa Barbara, Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin was inspired to build public awareness about the impact we humans were having on the environment. This was an era of protests against the Vietnam War and music festivals like Woodstock, so Nelson put forth an idea to create a "national teach-in on the environment." The next year, April 22 was selected as the first Earth Day - scheduled to take place for students after their spring break, but before their final exams. Amazingly, over 20 million people responded from coast to coast, rallying in streets and parks to protest for a sustainable environment. Ever since then "Earth Day" has been observed annually.
Just for kicks, here are some of the most thought-provoking headlines (some disturbing; some inspiring) from around the world on this year's Earth Day:
- Paris Climate Agreement - 175 countries signed an agreement to halt global warming, marking the largest commitment in world history to fight pollution.
- Earth Day Special: Around The World in 20 Tweets - Amazing photos of the beauty of our planet. This is what Earth Day is all about.
- 5 Black Communities Who Are Fighting Environmental Threats - People of color in our country breathe in almost 40% more pollutants than White Americans. Generally the most polluted environments are those in the poorest communities.
- Earth Day's Pink Moon - You know it's a special day when there's a "pink moon."
- Human Skull Uncovered during Earth Day Clean-up - You just never know what you are going to find.
- Pope Makes Surprise Visit to Rome Park - Even then Pope marked the day.
- Charlottesville Brewery Helps Clean Up Parks On Earth Day - A chance to clean up trash by day, and enjoy discounted beer by night. Not surprisingly, a busload of volunteers showed up!
- These Earth Day Predictions from 1970 Never Came True - We made it through another Earth Day in 2016, and luckily a number of predictions from the first Earth Day (the end of civilization and such) have not yet come to fruition.