Earth Day

Earth Day Quick Facts - US

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2024 DateApril 22, 2024
2025 DateApril 22, 2025

Earth Day

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Earth Day History

Earth Day seeks to highlight and promote efforts dedicated to the protection of the environment. As we enter the 21st century, we face many environmental crises including global warming, deforestation, endangered wildlife, shortages of potable water, and widespread pollution. These crises negatively affect our planet’s resources, and they pose serious risk to our long-term lifestyles and health.

In 1970, a US Senator named Gaylord Nelson was inspired to raise public awareness about environmental problems. He campaigned across the nation with the hopes of gathering public support. He hoped to have environmental protection included in the national political agenda. His efforts were rewarded later in July of 1970 when the United States Environmental Protection Agency was created. With it the came the passing of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.

Today, Earth Day is celebrated by billions of people around the world and is observed in over 190 countries. Worldwide, Earth Day celebrations utilize educational programs to inform people of ways that can help protect the environment and its natural resources. It is observed annually on April 22nd.

Facts & quotes about Earth Day

  • The theme for Earth Day in 2024 was Planet vs. Plastics. The theme in 2023 was Invest in Our Planet.
  • During the 2015 UN Conference in Paris, France, participating nations concurred on the need for action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The countries cooperatively pledged to keep global temperature rise below 2C (3.6F). In celebration of Earth Day 2016 on April 22nd, the landmark agreement that testifies to this global commitment was signed at the UN Headquarters in New York by 175 participating nations. The history of Earth Day 2017 dates back to 1970 when it was first celebrated in 1970. It was founded by US Senator Gaylord Nelson to promote ecology and the respect for life on the planet as well as to encourage awareness of the growing problems of air, water, and soil pollution.
  • According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, it is estimated that in 2023, US CO2 emissions will have reached 4,971 million metric tons (MMmt). This is less than the amount emitted in 2019: 5,144 MMmt and 2007: 6,016 MMmt.
  • In the past 50 years, humans have consumed more resources than in all previous history - U.S. EPA, 2009, Sustainable Materials Management: The Road Ahead.
  • We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children - Native American Proverb

Top things to do in the US for Earth Day

  • Try not to use your car for the entire day. Instead, use public transit, walk, or ride your bicycle.
  • Change your traditional incandescent light bulbs to energy saving LED or CFL light bulbs.
  • Organize a group of volunteers to help clean up and restore a green space. Some suggestions include planting trees and adding waste receptacles.
  • Watch a documentary or movie that touches on an ecological issue. Our favorites are: An Inconvenient Truth (2006), the Burning Season (1993, 2008), Elemental (2012) and The Day after Tomorrow (2004).
  • Read one of many books that relate to environmental issues such as, The World Without Us (Alan Weisman), Hell and High Water (Joseph Romm) and Natural Capitalism (Hawken, Lovins and Lovins)

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