The Evolution of Earth Day

Anna Sturgeon, Staff writer

Each year, on April 22, we celebrate the beautifuly diverse planet we call home.  As of 2020, earth day became 50 years old.  

During the 1900s, Americans consumed vast amounts of harmful chemicals, gasses, plastics, and more. Industry spewed out thick smoke and sludge with no regard to the consequences it would have, and air pollution was the favored smell of progress.  America was oblivious to environmental concerns and how it affected not only the environment, but them as well.  This all began to change in 1962, when Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (a New York Times Bestseller) hit the world.  Over 500,000 copies were sold raising public awareness for living things, the environment, and the in-ignorable connections to pollution.  

Senator Gaylord Nelson, became concerned about the rabidly deteriorating environment in the U.S.  He became inspired by the the student anti-war movements.  The Senator created teach-ins on collage campuses, during April 22 (between spring break and finals) to maximize the student participation.  The day’s events spread, and was renamed Earth Day.  Things kicked off from there, inspiring 20 million Americans to take action against the 150 year impacts of damages caused.  Earth Day only grew from there. 

In 1990, Denis Hays organized another major environmental campaign.  Only this time, it went global.  200 million people from 141 countries took part in the holiday.  As of 2000, Earth Day had 5,000 environmental groups in 184 countries.  Hundreds of people joined in Washington DC to hold a First Amendment Rally expressing their want for quick and effective solutions to global warming and clean energy.  Even through the 2010 challenges of the disbelief in climate change, Earth Day prevailed through the creation of EARTHDAY.ORG.  Today, Earth Day is marked by over a billion people each year, all fighting for clean and healthy environments.