What is World Earth Day?

World Earth Day occurs on the 22nd of April every year and is the annual anniversary of what many activists believe to be the true birth of the modern environmental movement. A worldwide festival of environmental education, the motive of World Earth Day is to inform and educate the world's citizens about environmental issues.

The first ever Earth Day began in 1970. The times were evidently changing and protest was rife. However, people's anger was focused more on humanitarian causes such as the Vietnam war. Although there had been various pieces of literature warning of the perils of ignoring climate change, during the 60's, environmental concerns were little more than an afterthought.

The Birth Of a Movement

This changed after a Senator from Wisconsin named Gaylord Nelson witnessed a massive oil spill in southern California. He was taken aback by the aftermath of the incident - dead animals, devastated plants and fauna. Gaylord realised that if he could infuse the anger and emotion of the anti-war movement with the environmental movement then serious change would really happen.

Nelson started off by recruiting over 85 different members of staff who then went on to engage in a national 'teach-in'. The idea behind this was that they would educate the public on the negatives of poor environmental behaviours.

Revolutionary 70's

The teachings and marketing campaign really resonated with the politically charged youth of the 70's and resulted in 20 million people marching across the land to demand more environmentally friendly policies as well as further regulation of big businesses. This mass-protest turned environmentalism into a cross-party issue as both Republicans and Democrats began to recognise the immediacy of the issue.

This led to the House of Representatives voting yes on the creation of a Environmental Protection Agency and helped pave the way for future initiatives such as the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio and the Kyoto Treaty.

Present Day

Since the halcyon days of the 1970's World Earth Day has expanded massively. The event is truly a global one, with a record 184 countries taking part.in the fight for a greener world. What are you doing for this years edition?