The History Behind Earth Day

On April 22, 2019, Wilson and the world celebrated Earth Day. Earth Day is a day remembered from early childhood about planting trees and cleaning up litter on the streets, but not many people know the facts about Earth Day. Earth Day began roughly 48-49 years ago, kick-started by American Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin in 1963. The senator was looking to begin a conservation movement, but the first official Earth Day did not occur until April 22, 1970, after an oil spill in California in 1969 spurred him to fight even harder.
President John F. Kennedy attempted to help Senator Nelson in 1963 with a conservation tour, but the press only asked about the growing tensions with the Soviet Union and not about the focus of the tour. Senator Nelson also felt that his speeches were not as compelling as they could have been. However, on the first Earth Day, seven years later, people were out in droves protesting, cleaning, going on nature walks, and everything in between.
The date Earth Day occurs on, April 22, was actually chosen with college students in mind. At the time, most college campuses were in between spring break and finals week by April 22, and so national coordinator Denis Hayes chose this date to mobilize the college community for the most effective turnout for conservation.
However, no holiday worth celebrating is without its opposition. Social justice groups and conservative political groups alike claimed that Earth Day was a thin cover up for something more devious at hand. The college students came in handy, as Earth Day lives on and has sparked numerous reforms and changes to environmental policies around the globe, not just in the United States. U.S. reformations like the Clean Air Act, Endangered Species Act, Water Quality Improvement Act, Toxic Substances Control Act, and Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act can all credit Earth Day for their approval and continued support.
With the climate issues being discussed today, there is faith in the celebration of Earth Day that the world can be spared and kept in its natural beauty as it was in 1970. While the species we have lost over the decades cannot yet be returned, there is hope for the other endangered species of the world.

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