Background Info

On April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day was observed. Twenty million people participated in the inaugural events. Earth Day was founded by Sen. Gaylord Nelson (D-Wisconsin) an environmentalist. The two largest gatherings of the first Earth Day were held in Washington, D.C., and New York City. However, events were hosted all over the nation, at colleges, universities, and schools, and in communities. This first Earth Day was designed to educate participants in the importance of the environment. It was created to advocate for conservation and sustainability. Nelson urged students and fellow environmentalists to raise awareness about ecology with the same passion that displayed by opponents to the Vietnam War.
Earth Day paved the way for many environmental organizations, and even the Environmental Protection Agency, which was created just eight months later. It also helped to create support for legislative acts such as the Clean Air Act. Today, Earth Day encourages the importance of long-term ecological sustainability. It helps us to be aware of the demand for clean water, air, and land. More than 200 million people in 141 countries celebrate Earth Day every April 22.


Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry



to argue in favor of something.



management of a natural resource to prevent exploitation, destruction, or neglect.

Encyclopedic Entry: conservation

Earth Day


April 22, an international holiday to honor the need to protect the environment.

Encyclopedic Entry: Earth Day



person who studies or works to protect the Earth's ecosystems.






use of resources in such a manner that they will never be exhausted.


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Caryl-Sue, National Geographic Society


Mary Crooks, National Geographic Society

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