Happy Earth Month!
Earth Month (which is centered around Earth Day) is celebrated each year during April to bring awareness to human behavior and its effects on our environment. It’s also a time to push for global, national, and local policy changes. Every year, more than one billion people come together on Earth Day to work towards a clean environment.
The history of Earth Month dates back to the early 1960s when writer Rachel Carson published Silent Spring. The book documented the negative environmental effects of pesticides. A few years later, Wisconsin senator Gaylord Nelson voiced concern about environmental issues. He then proposed the idea of Earth Day in 1969, inspired by the “teach-ins” from Vietnam War protestors on U.S. college campuses. Since then, Earth Day has been celebrated annually on April 22 by people all over the world.
Fun fact! The movement gained so much traction that 20 million people participated in activities for the first official Earth Day in the United States in 1970!
The theme for 2023 Earth Day is “Invest In Our Planet.” The theme is a continuation of last year’s, which focuses on engaging governments, institutions, businesses, and the general public to push to create a prosperous and equitable green environment for all.
Earth Day has had its share of many accomplishments throughout the last 50 years and continues to reach new milestones. Here are some of its achievements:
- The first Earth Day led to the passage of landmark environmental laws in the U.S., including Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts and the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).1
- Earth Day officially went global in 1990, with more than 200 million people in more than 140 nations participating.2
- Earth Day celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2020, the theme celebrated that year was centered on climate action.3
- The United Nations Climate Summit in 2019 set a goal to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. As of December 2020, over two thirds of the world’s GDP was being generated in places with actual or intended “net zero by 2050” targets, covering over half of the world’s population and emissions.4
- The first Earth Day led to the creation of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).5
- Today, more than 190 countries participate in Earth Day.6
Want to learn more?
Interested in learning more about Earth Day and the month-long celebration? You can find helpful information and facts here:
1. Our Successes. (n.d.). Earth Day. https://www.earthday.org/our-successes/
2, 3. History.com Editors. (2020, April 21). Earth Day Timeline. HISTORY. https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/earth-day-timeline
4. — SDG Indicators. (n.d.). Unstats.un.org. https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/report/2021/goal-13/
5. US Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (2019). When Was the First Earth Day? Noaa.gov. https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/earth-day.html
6. earthday.org. (2019). The History of Earth Day | Earth Day. Earth Day. https://www.earthday.org/history/