Origins of Earth Day

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day! In 1970, fed up with air pollution, toxic waterways, and high amounts of oil consumption, Wisconsin senator, Gaylord Nelson, channelled the American people’s growing concern for the environment and organized the first Earth Day rally.

On April 22nd, 20 million Americans took to the streets to rally for a more sustainable and environmentally friendly lifestyle. This Earth Day movement brought together every individual group that had been fighting for a healthier environment and united them under a single cause. “By the end of 1970, the first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean AirClean Water and Endangered Species Acts.” (

By 1990, American Earth Day hit the world stage. This worldwide push brought action through 141 countries and mobilized 200 million people. Can you believe that?!

On this 50th Earth Day, let us all remember the ideals behind the day. What will you do this Earth Day to celebrate? Be sure to submit to our Earth Day Drawing Contest – more information HERE!

“I remember celebrating the first Earth Day in the quad of my high school in Southern California.   As a Sophomore, the day piqued my interest for the outdoors and our collective role on the impact of the environment. On this 50th anniversary of Earth Day, I continue the pledge made during my formative years to leave the world in a better place than I found it.”  – Heidi Doyle, Executive Director of The Sierra State Parks Foundation