top of page

Earth Day Origin: Making Earth Day Every Day

Updated: May 15

From the time we enter this Earth, it is implemented into our lives the importance of caring for her is. Through every form of media and speech, the awareness of the fact our planet is slowly deteriorating is not a foreign concept. Precautions such as laws and organizations forming continue to be put in place, but certain damages have been done. 

Believe it or not, up until 1970 this was not common knowledge. Factories could spew clouds of black smoke, companies were free to dispose of waste in bodies of water, and this was all fine and legal. There were no Clean Water Acts or Clean Air acts to protect our environment. However, a change was finally made in the spring of 1970. Senator Gaylord Nelson - also known as the father of Earth day - realized this could not go on.

Nelson accomplished the national holiday through prestigious speeches and bills. Along with being senator, he also served as a Wisconsin senator and as the Wilderness Society's counselor. His pure wonder of nature goes back into his childhood years, and rich history was part of what made his claims so convincing.

Gathering protestors with similar visions was not difficult with the rise of “flower children” and intense passion to find peace in the U.S. The concept of dedicating a day in spring fully to acknowledge and appreciate the Earth was well received. So well received in fact, that on April 22, 1970, an estimated 20 million people nationwide attended the inaugural events pertaining to this day of dedication. Signs were made, articles were written, and change was made. At tens of thousands of sites including elementary and secondary schools, universities, and community sites across the United States were full of these “earthlings” as they were called. The numbers truly did something, and it was then recognized as a national holiday.  

Man must stop pollution and conserve his resources, not merely to enhance existence but to save the race from intolerable deterioration and possible extinction. -- New York Times editorial, the day after the first Earth Day

The first Earth Day in 1970 led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency as well as numerous eco-friendly laws such as the Clean Water and Endangered Species Act. Awareness of global warming and following more sustainable practices were also more widely discussed. But we still have a long way to go.

Even in our own lives as high schoolers, moves to be environmentally aware can be made. A very popular thing is thrifting/antiquing. Rather than buying something then shipping, go out to our local thrift stores and pick up not only unique pieces, but sustainable too. It is important to keep in mind to really only purchase items you really love. Because while you are doing good by thrifting, thoughtless purchases can be just as harmful if ending in the same place as fast fashion.

Another thing that we can do it cut down on plastic and other waste usage. Bringing your own water bottle or portable utensils are both things that could be done. They are very easily accessible, easy to find at grocery stores or even convenience stores. These are two suggestions that can be done now, but it of course doesn't stop here. Even pursuing careers after high school involving nature and aiding our Earth.

A fellow Lance writer, Patricia Curran, actually provided a full educational article on this topic: Happy Earth Day: Careers in the Environment.

Do give it a read! Aiding and loving our Mother Earth in any way goes more than just a random act. It can save a habitat or stop a species from being extinct. It is all our responsibility, and through this topic, the biggest changes have been made as a community and full effort.

44 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page