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.

Vocabulary

Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry

advocate

Verb

to argue in favor of something.

conservation

Noun

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

Encyclopedic Entry: conservation

Earth Day

Noun

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

Encyclopedic Entry: Earth Day

environmentalist

Noun

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

inaugural

Adjective

first.

sustainability

Noun

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

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Editor

Caryl-Sue, National Geographic Society

Producer

Mary Crooks, National Geographic Society

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