Reviewing relevant Earth Day information can help you choose appropriate projects and activities for classrooms, community events or special family time.
Origin of Earth Day
Earth Day was first celebrated on April 22, 1970. Founded by Gaylord Nelson, a United States Senator, it's based on anti-Vietnam War demonstrations that he witnessed on college campuses. These demonstrations or teach-ins were organized to educate people about the war. Nelson sought to use the same principles to educate society about the environment.
Over 20 million people participated in the first Earth Day with various activities, many of which took place in elementary schools and universities. Even Congress adjourned for the day to allow congressional representatives to attend the Earth Day activities in their districts. Nelson's desire to get the attention of politicians not only worked, it went viral. Within a few years the entire world was celebrating an entire week of activities leading up to Earth Day.
Earth Day Information and Trivia
If you are wondering about more Earth Day information, you may enjoy these fun facts:
- Earth Day namesake: Are you wondering how Earth Day got its name? Earth Day was named by several people, including Senator Nelson's friend Julian Koenig whose birthday was coincidentally April 22. He thought that since Earth Day rhymed with birthday it was a natural name for the event.
- Celebration date: Ever wonder why Earth Day is celebrated on April 22? Nelson decided on April 22 since he felt it would maximize participation by college students. After all, the week of April 22 did not fall during exams, Spring Break, or conflict with Easter, Passover, or any other religious celebrations. In addition, it was late enough in the Spring that the weather would usually be nice.
- Ecology flag: The Ecology Flag was created by Ron Cobb, a political cartoonist. The symbol was made up of the letters E and O, the first letters of the words Environment and Organism. The 13 green and white stripes are reminiscent of the American flag. In the square, or canton, in the left-hand corner is a theta, the ninth letter of the Greek alphabet. It looks like a circle with a line through it. Some flags use a peace sign rather than a theta.
- Negative associations: Some people do not celebrate Earth Day and feel that one day is not enough to encourage society to make the changes needed. They feel that celebrating Earth Day causes people to feel that the government is doing more than it actually is and that by focusing only on one week the other 51 weeks are ignored.
- Earth Day is the largest celebrated secular holiday in the world.
- The first proclamation of Earth Day was made by the mayor of San Francisco in 1970.
- One of the activities for Earth Day is the annual ringing of the Peace Bell at the United Nations (UN). The Peace Bell was given to the UN by Japan and is made from coins donated by Japanese school children to promote peace on the planet.
- The first international conference on the environment was held in Sweden in 1972 and was sponsored by United Nations.
Things to Do on Earth Day
There are many projects and activities that you can do to celebrate Earth Day. Do as many as you like, but remember that Earth Day should be every day. It will take more than one day of activities to make a significant difference on environmental issues.
As a family, decide which of these green activities you want to do:
- Clean up a roadside or park
- Plant trees or flowers
- Make bird feeders
- Make a recycling bin
- Make a rain barrel
- Teach elementary children about Earth Day with related Lesson plans
- Make posters with fun Earth Day slogans
For more Earth Day information and ideas you can check-out these websites:
Let the Earth Day activities inspire you to make permanent changes in your life. Decide on new, eco-friendly habits and implement them throughout the year. While Earth Day is one week out of the year to focus on the environment it takes a daily dedication to create long-lasting positive change.