The first Earth Day 1970
Earth Day, an event to increase public awareness of the world’s environmental problems, is celebrated in the United States for the first time. Millions of Americans, including students from thousands of colleges and universities, participated in rallies, marches, and educational programs.
Earth Day was the brainchild of Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, a staunch environmentalist who hoped to provide unity to the grassroots environmental movement and increase ecological awareness. “The objective was to get a nationwide demonstration of concern for the environment so large that it would shake the political establishment out of its lethargy,” Senator Nelson said, “and, finally, force this issue permanently onto the national political agenda.” Earth Day indeed increased environmental awareness in America, and in July of that year the Environmental Protection Agency was established by special executive order to regulate and enforce national pollution legislation.
On April 22, 1990, the 20th anniversary of Earth Day, more than 200 million people in 141 countries participated in Earth Day celebrations.
Earth Day has been celebrated on different days by different groups internationally. The United Nations officially celebrates it on the vernal equinox, which usually occurs about March 21.
(More Events on This Day in History)
- 1778 John Paul Jones leads American raid on Whitehaven, England
- 1933 Rolls-Royce co-founder dies
- 1863 Union raid cuts Mississippi telegraph wires
- 1954 McCarthy Army hearings begin
- 1886 Seduction is made illegal
- 1934 An FBI agent is killed in a gangster raid
- 1992 Sewers explode in Guadalajara
- 1915 Germans introduce poison gas
- 1997 Fujimori orders assault on Japanese ambassador’s home
- 1937 Jack Nicholson born
- 1873 Ellen Glasgow, Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist, is born
- 1978 The Blues Brothers make their world premiere on Saturday Night Live
- 1889 The Oklahoma land rush begins
- 1994 Former President Richard Nixon dies
- 2004 Pat Tillman killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan
- 1968 South Vietnamese have increased combat capabilities
- 1972 Antiwar demonstrations held
World War I
- 1915 Second Battle of Ypres begins
World War II
- 1944 Americans launch Operation Persecution in the Pacific
- 1945 Hitler admits defeat