History of Earth Day

Earth Day is the occassion to explore and reinforce ways to save our beautiful planet. Established in 1970, this globally significant day sees people of various big and small nations joining hands to strive to make the world a better place to live in. TheHolidaySpot brings you an informative article on the history of Earth Day. Know how Earth Day originated three decades back and click here to refer this page to your friends and let them know about it too. Let's unite for the cause of our planet and spread the spirit of Earth's Day to one and all! Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day History

It may be a bit surprising yet the fact remains that the most important day dedicated to our planet is observed not once but twice.

The origin of Earth Day goes back more than four decades. But the reason of celebrating the occassion is much older.

Post the invention of steam engine by James Watt and the Industrial Revolution, the western world witnessed thousands of industries being set up and large-scale uses of natural resources. With massive production of automobiles and increased combustion of fossil fuels, huge amount of pollutants began to be released into the air and the environment, and the world witnessed pollution like never before. The situation worsened with every passing decade.

According to a recent study, the U.S emits 24% of the world's greenhouse gases, making it the world's most polluting country. Many see this as a natural consequence of the early decades of the 20th century when a lack of awareness of global pollution and natural resource limitations among general public of America resulted in the consumption of mass quantities of gas and coal. Thousands of factories across the continent frequently released pollutants into the air and water with nary a care for the environment.

Since the '60s however, many citizens began to be conscious of the pollution of their surroundings and voiced their concerns about the environment. The awareness recieved its major impetus around 1962, when the famous Cuyahoga River of Cleveland actually burst into flames. This was attributed to the large-scale inflow of large amounts of oil and other toxic chemicals into the river waters from adjoining factories. Pollution was held to be the major cause of disease and death in New York City and Los Angeles. This was the time when the idea of Earth Day started evolving in the minds of climate-conscious citizens.

Presently, the Earth Day is celebrated twice every year. The first one, known as the Equinoctial Earth Day or Equinox Earth Day, is celebrated on the Vernal Equinox(around March 20), the day Spring starts in the Northern Hemisphere. The tradition of Earth Day observance in spring was founded in 1969 by peace activist John McConnell.

A second Earth Day is celebrated during autumn in the southern hemisphere. This was established by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson as the direct result of an environmental conference that he attended in 1970. This Earth Day in April, better known as World Earth Day, is celebrated in many countries each year on April 22.

Since their origin in the late 60s, both celebrations have become annual events of great significance for millions of people around the world. What began as the brainchild of two men has evolved into a unifying celebration involving nearly 175 nations.