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Earth Day’s History:
Earth Day is a day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s environment.
Below is a brief account of Earth Day history. You can read this story out in front of the class or for family on the holiday.
In the Beginning…
In 1963, former Senator Gaylord Nelson began to worry about our planet. (A senator is a person that the people of the United States have chosen to help make the laws.) Senator Nelson knew that our world was getting dirty and that many of our plants and animals were dying.
He wondered why more people weren’t trying to solve these problems. He talked to other lawmakers and to the President. They decided that the President would go around the country and tell people about these concerns. He did, but still not enough people were working on the problem.
Then, in 1969, Senator Nelson had another idea. He decided to have a special day to teach everyone about the things that needed changing in our environment. He wrote letters to all of the colleges and put a special article in Scholastic Magazine to tell them about the special day he had planned. (Most of the schools got this magazine and he knew that kids would help him.)
On April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day was held. People all over the country made promises to help the environment. Everyone got involved and since then, Earth Day has spread all over the planet. People all over the world know that there are problems we need to work on and this is our special day to look at the planet and see what needs changing. Isn’t it great?
One person had an idea and kept working until everyone began working together to solve it. See what happens when people care about our world?
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Earth Day’s Facts:
- Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to watch a TV for three hours – it’s equivalent to half a gallon of gasoline.
- Earth Day is a relatively new holiday and was first celebrated on April 22 in 1970. More than 20 million Americans participated in this first Earth Day celebration
- Earth Day was founded by a senator of Wisconsin and the day is credited for creating the environmentalism movement.
- April 22 is the first official day of Spring in the Northern hemisphere and of Fall in the Southern hemisphere and was chosen to be Earth Day for this reason.
- Never underestimate the importance of recycling: if every newspaper was recycled, we could save about 250,000,000 trees each year. Unfortunately only 27% of all American newspapers are recycled.
- More than 20,000,000 Hershey’s Kisses are wrapped each day, using 133 square miles of tinfoil. All that foil is recyclable, but not many people realize it.
- Only 11% of the earth’s surface is used to grow food.
- The world’s first national park was started in 1872 at Yellowstone National Park in the US.
- The first major international conference on environmental issues was held in Sweden in 1972 and was sponsored by the United Nations.
- The first wildlife refuge was formed on Pelican Island Florida in 1903.
- The patron Saint of ecologists is St. Francis and the first proclamation of Earth Day was made by the mayor of San Francisco in 1970.
- A highlight of the annual Earth Day ceremony at the United Nations is the ringing of the Peace Bell that was given to the UN by Japan. It is made from coins given by school children to further peace on our planet.
Happy Earth Day!
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