Earth Day—a day for people around the world to FOCUS on our planet and what we can do to improve its health.
Earth Day was created in 1970 in hopes of bringing about environmental reform to America. It began in the United States with schools—20 million students, teachers and parents! Today it has grown to more than a billion people from 192 countries celebrating Earth Day in some way!
A terrible oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara, Calif., a year earlier motivated the founders to start Earth Day. Sen. Gaylord Nelson, from Wisconsin, was so horri ed by the spill, he went back to Washington, D.C., and proposed Earth Day. He chose Harvard student Denis Hayes to organize the nationwide event. Out of Nelson’s idea sprang other legislation designed to protect our environment. The Clean Air Act was later created to protect the air we breathe. It includes regulations to protect our water, wildlands and oceans.
Earth Day activities around the world are still organized by Hayes through his Earth Day Network. It promotes international awareness of many environmental issues. Scientists and dedicated environmentalists urge us to change our lifestyles and to con- tinue research for alternative fuel sources.
What causes global warming? While sci- entists are still researching the causes, we do know that an increase of methane gas and carbon dioxide has contributed to global warming. Crowded highways cause more than traf c headaches—all those cars are putting more carbon dioxide into the air.
Global warming is when the Earth’s temperature, and the temperature of the oceans, rises. The rising temperatures can cause oods and affect the weather. Scien- tists are concerned about melting glaciers and rising ocean levels.
The date was chosen because April 22 was Arbor Day, a day to plant trees.