Learning About Our Planet: 7 Earth Day Facts You Should Know

In the United States, air pollution has decreased significantly since 1970. 

The Clean Air Act is one reason. Another is that 1970 was when Earth Day began. If you’re interested in helping the environment, there are some Earth Day facts you might not be aware of. 

Earth Day is a day set aside for everyone to think and act on the pollution that threatens us. The environment is in danger, and while we have made great strides, there is still much work to do. What began as an American holiday has turned into a global phenomenon. 

Earth Day Facts

Earth Day is held every year on April 22nd. 

It is a day that is set aside for people to show support for environmental protection. Schools often feature Earth Day events as part of their observance of the holiday, and so many school children are exposed to Earth Day. 

1. Earth Day Was Founded by a U.S. Senator 

Senator Gaylord Nelson started Earth Day in the hopes that people would begin to organize more support for environmental protection. In his own words, “The objective is an environment of decency, quality, and mutual respect for all other human beings, and all living creatures.” 

The Wisconsin Senator was aided by the University of Wisconsin and many other environmental activists. He developed the idea after an oil spill in California. The impact of that spill moved the senator to try and bring more awareness to the dangers of pollution on our environment.  

2. The UN Recognizes Earth Day 

Earth Day may have started as an American event, but it has spread around the world. Over 500 million people celebrate the day in over 170 countries. Some estimates put the number closer to 1 billion people. A piece of Earth Day trivia is that the United Nations renamed the holiday to the International Mother Earth Day in 2009. 

People do a variety of things in order to celebrate Earth Day. Some people don’t use their car for the whole day. Other people organize marches, and still others plant large numbers of trees. In the words of Dr. Thomas Fuller, “He that plants trees loves others beside himself.” 

3. Earth Day Supporters Even Go Underwater

Cleaning coral reefs is not something most people would consider doing. However, supporters of Earth Day remove plastic bags, ropes, and other debris in order to promote the health of the reef. You don’t have to clean up a coral reef to show support for Earth Day, but you could try to spend the whole day without making any garbage. 

4. Millions of People Still at Risk

It is estimated that over 4 million people die each year from air pollution alone. While we have made great strides, there is still a lot of work to be done. Most of those who are at risk are the poor and those that live in underdeveloped nations. 

In the words of Pope Francis, “Today, however, we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.” 

5. Girl Scouts Helped With the First Earth Day 

A bit of an Earth Day fun fact, the first Earth Day featured pamphlets made by the University of Wisconsin that were handed out by Girl Scouts. They went through the crowds distributing these pamphlets to Earth Day activists and regular people alike. 

Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts have long been environmentally conscious. They organize clean-up drives along highways and parks. You can join this effort by contacting your local troop and asking for information. If you’ve never joined in before, find a new purpose and value in helping the environment.

6. Earth Day Events

If you are looking for Earth day tips and facts, find an event near you. This interactive map can show you where events are planned and what is close to you. If nothing is close to you, consider starting your own event and invite everyone to join in. Organize via social media. You may get more support than you think. 

Earth Day features events that are all organized for the purpose of bringing awareness to our environment. You could organize a recycling drive or take a walk down a nature trail near you to pick up the trash left behind. Anything you can do to help promote Earth Day helps everyone.

7. Earth Day Has Kept Flowers From Going Extinct

One of the weird facts about Earth is that all life is interconnected. In Panama, they took this to heart and planted endangered orchids to prevent them from going extinct. Unlike so many events, Earth Day has a real impact on the world. 

This is an example of something you can do by promoting the growth and spread of native plant species. With so many invasive species moving throughout the world, anything we can do to help vulnerable plants and animals makes our world a better place. 

We Are All in This Together 

Whether you are someone who enjoys the outdoors or even if you haven’t given it much thought, it has been said, “Good planets are hard to find.” This has never been truer as we discover just how special and fragile our world is. 

Whether you celebrate Earth Day as an affirmation of your faith, or because you see something wrong and need to do something about it is up to you. All of us owe it to the future to do what we can.

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