World Earth Day: History, Facts and Significance
In the 1960s, there were limited environmental laws protecting our air and waters and the Environmental Protection Agency had not been established yet. Industries were spewing out pollution without much fear of legal repercussions. Dirty air and water seemed to be the norm. In addition, the war was raging in Vietnam, and college students and the counterculture in the United States protested nationwide in opposition to it.
Thankfully, there were a few people who were working on promoting environmental protection. One such man was Gaylord Nelson, the father of Earth Day. Nelson had an idea that has now grown into a worldwide celebration for the planet.
Nelson served two terms as the Governor of Wisconsin, and it was here where he started his environmental legacy and earned the title, “the Conservation Governor.” In 1962, Nelson was elected to the US Senate, and for 18 years worked to bring environmental issues to the national stage.
World Earth Day is an annual event on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. First held on April 22, 1970, it now includes a wide range of events coordinated by Earth Day.Org including one billion people in more than 193 countries.
In 1969 at a UNESCO conference in San Francisco peace activist John McConnell proposed a day to honour the earth and the concept of peace, to first be observed on March 21, 1970, the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere. This day of nature's equipoise was later sanctioned in a proclamation written by Mc Connell and signed by Secretary-General U Thant at the United Nations. A month later United States Senator Gaylord Nelson proposed the idea to hold a nationwide teach-in on April 22, 1970. He hired Denis Hayes to be the National Coordinator. They renamed the event Earth Day.
On Earth Day 2016, the landmark Paris Agreement was signed by the United States, the United Kingdom, China and 120 other countries. This signing satisfied a key requirement for the entry into force of the historic draft climate protection treaty adopted by the consensus of the 195 nations present at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.
Numerous communities engaged in Earth Day Week Actions, an entire week of activities on the issues the world faces.
It's an occasion to remind us about our responsibility towards mother earth. It' time we preserve natural resources and present them to our future generations.