Earth Day 2022: the environmental movement’s history and impact

Every year on April 22, people all over the world commemorate Earth Day to show their support for environmental and environmental conservation. Plantation drives, protests, awareness workshops, children’s competitions, and other activities are planned for the day. Earth Day is thought to be one of the world’s largest civic celebrations.

What is the significance of Earth Day?

Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. politician who served as a Governor and Senator during his career, is credited for establishing the first-ever Earth Day in 1970. The Senator was inspired to campaign for environmental protection after a huge oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, in 1969.

Senator Nelson was inspired by the anti-war student movement of the time and sought to channel that enthusiasm into raising public awareness about pollution. He teamed up with Republican Congressman Pete McCloskey for a teach-in, or informal lecture, on college campuses to raise environmental awareness. Senator Nelson also enlisted the help of Denis Hayes, a young activist, to plan the lectures, which were held on April 22nd, a weekday between Spring Break and final exams, in order to increase participation.

Mr. Hayes saw the exercise’s potential and wanted all Americans to benefit from it, so he assembled an 85-person national staff to market it across the country. Others who were inspired to safeguard the environment quickly joined them. The lecture day was renamed Earth Day, gaining widespread media coverage and encouraging around 20 million Americans to take to the streets to protest decades of industrial progress with little regard for the environment or its impact on human health. Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city dwellers and farmers, and business and labor leaders all joined together on Earth Day to show their support for the world.

What was the first Earth Day impact?

By the end of 1970, the United States had established the United States Environmental Protection Agency to handle environmental issues. Several environmental legislation was also passed in the country, including the National Environmental Education Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and the Clean Air Act.

The United States Congress passed the Clean Water Act two years later, in 1972. The Endangered Species Act was enacted in 1973 a result of this.

How did it become a worldwide phenomenon?

Environmentalists approached Mr. Hayes before the 1990 Earth Day to create a global campaign. On Earth Day, it was projected that 200 million individuals from over 140 nations will take part in festivities. It also cleared the stage for the UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Senator Nelson received the presidential medal of freedom, the nation’s highest civilian decoration, from former US President Bill Clinton in 1995 for his devotion to environmental protection.

Mr. Hayes also led a global campaign for Earth Day 2000, this time focusing on global warming and the need for clean energy. Approximately 5,000 environmental organizations in 184 countries reached out to hundreds of millions of people all over the world to spread the environmental message.

The 50th anniversary of Earth Day will be celebrated in 2020. The event was hosted virtually because most of the world was under coronavirus lockdown at the time.

What is the theme for Earth Day 2022?

This year’s Earth Day theme is “invest in our world.” The focus is on initiatives that foster collaboration between enterprises, governments, and citizens in order to take immediate action to safeguard the environment and secure a sustainable future. 

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