Earth Day Countdown
until April 22, 2018
Earth Day Facts and History
Earth Day is a holiday that is observed every year in more than 190 countries around the world. Unlike other holidays that are meant to commemorate an event or are tied to religious traditions, Earth Day is a day meant to raise awareness about an event, namely the importance of protecting the environment. While not a holiday that most people have off of work in the United States, Earth Day is observed in a number of ways both by communities and individuals.
When Is Earth Day?
Earth Day is held on the same day every year–April 22. The date was reportedly chosen by Gaylord Nelson, who served as the U.S. Senator for Wisconsin from 1963 to 1981. Nelson chose the day because it was one day after the Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere and the Autumnal Equinox in the Southern Hemisphere.
History of Earth Day
During the 1960s, environmental protection became an important issue in the United States and around the world. Activists sought to raise awareness about environmental issues throughout the decade, and in 1969, an activist named John McConnell put forward a motion at a conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization that a worldwide day of awareness be established to this end. The following April 22, the first Earth Day celebration was held. The event was considered a teach-in, an event where people gathered to listen to lectures on a variety of ecology-related topics.
In 1990, Earth Day was celebrated worldwide for the first time with more than 140 nations participating. Since then, the number of countries that participate each year has steadily increased. Earth Day is widely considered the most commonly celebrated secular holiday in the world. The 2016 celebration of Earth Day was marked by the signing of the Paris Agreement, an international agreement that seeks to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Official Earth Day Celebrations
In the United States, Earth Day is typically marked by official celebrations in communities and cities across the country. Rallies and festivals are often held, and many environmental groups use the occasion to raise funds for projects. The website EarthDay.org provides a listing of Earth Day events held in locations all around the world.
In schools, children typically learn about the environment on Earth Day and may have special guest speakers or assemblies on ecology-related issues. During the days leading up to Earth Day, environmental groups and charities will often run advertisements and awareness campaigns to bring to light important environmental issues. Television networks also run specials and programs on environmental issues to coincide with the day.
Celebrating Earth Day at Home
Many people choose to celebrate Earth Day by doing something good for the environment. People may volunteer their time to clean up trash or do another type of community service that benefits the planet. Others may use Earth Day as a time to consider making improvements to their homes to reduce waste or conserve energy or to take the time to educate themselves on environmental problems and conservation.