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Find the Library at Your Place: Celebrate Earth Day!: Home

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In the decades leading up to the first Earth Day in 1970, Americans were consuming vast amounts of leaded gas through massive and inefficient automobiles. Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of the consequences from either the law or bad press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity. Until this point, mainstream America remained largely oblivious to environmental concerns and how a polluted environment threatens human health.

However, the stage was set for change with the publication of Rachel Carson’s New York Times bestseller Silent Spring in 1962. The book represented a watershed moment, selling more than 500,000 copies in 24 countries as it raised public awareness and concern for living organisms, the environment and the inextricable links between pollution and public health.

Earth Day 1970 would come to provide a voice to this emerging environmental consciousness, and putting environmental concerns on the front page.


Demand Climate Recovery


Earth Day 2021 begins with a global youth climate summit led by Earth Uprising, in collaboration with My Future My Voice, OneMillionOfUs and hundreds of youth climate activists.

The global youth summit will consist of panels, speeches, discussions, and special messages with today’s youth climate activists including Greta Thunberg, Alexandria Villaseñor, and Licypriya Kangujam.

In the evening on April 20, the Hip Hop Caucus and its partners will present the “We Shall Breathe” virtual summit. This digital event will examine climate and environmental justice, connecting the climate crisis to issues of pollution, poverty, police brutality, and the pandemic, all within a racial justice framework.

Come back on April 20 for the start of the event, and follow Earth day platforms to join the discussion. The theme of Earth Day 2021 is Restore Our Earth™.


Education International

Teach for the Planet: Global Education Summit

APRIL 21 - 7 AM Eastern

The multilingual virtual summit will span several time zones and feature prominent activists from every continent, focused on the crucial role that educators play in combating climate change and why we need transformative climate education now.

Earth Day Events


Earth Day

Parallel to the Biden Administration’s global climate summit, EARTHDAY.ORG will have its second Earth Day Live digital event, right here. The global show begins at 12 PM Eastern Time.

Workshops, panel discussions, and special performances will focus on Restore Our Earth™ — we’ll cover natural processes, emerging green technologies, and innovative thinking that can restore the world’s ecosystems.
More topics will include:

  • Climate and environmental literacy
  • Climate restoration technologies
  • Reforestation efforts
  • Regenerative agriculture
  • Equity and environmental justice
  • Citizen science
  • Cleanups, and more.

World climate leaders, grassroots activists, nonprofit innovators, thought leaders, industry leaders, artists, musicians, influencers, and the leaders of tomorrow will come to push us towards a better world.

Fun Facts

It’s estimated that over a billion people participate in Earth Day every year.

Welcome to, a global movement of millions of young people making positive change, online and off! The 11 facts you want are below, and the sources for the facts are at the very bottom of the page. After you learn something, Do Something! Find out how to take action here.
Updated: April 19, 2021

  1. US Senator Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day after witnessing a massive oil spill that leaked millions of gallons of oil off the coast of Santa Barbara in 1969.[1]
  2. The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970. Sen. Nelson chose this day because it fell between most students’ spring break and final exams, and he wanted to encourage young people specifically to participate.[2]
  3. The very first Earth Day sparked an environmental movement and led to the creation of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) later that year.[3]
  4. Earth Day was also influential in passing environmental legislation like the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Education Act, and more.[4]
  5. On the very first Earth Day, more than 2,000 colleges and universities, 10,000 public schools, and 20 million citizens participated -- which was about 10% of the US population at the time.[5]
  6. Earth Day originated in the US but became recognized worldwide by 1990.[6]
  7. In 2009, the UN designated April 22 as International Mother Earth Day.[7]
  8. It’s estimated that over a billion people participate in Earth Day every year, making it the largest secular observance in the world.[8]
  9. Over 95% of primary and secondary schools in the US and millions of schools globally observe Earth Day each year.[9]
  10. On Earth Day 2012, more than 100,000 people rode bikes in China to reduce CO2 emissions and save fuel.[10]
  11. On Earth Day 2020, 20 million people worldwide tuned into the 12-hour Earth Day Live event, hosted remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic.[11]
  1. "The History of Earth Day." Web Accessed April 15, 2021. ↩︎
  2. "The History of Earth Day." Web Accessed April 15, 2021. ↩︎
  3. National Ocean Service. "When Was the First Earth Day?." National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Web Accessed April 15, 2021.↩︎
  4. "The History of Earth Day." Web Accessed April 15, 2021. ↩︎
  5. National Ocean Service. "When Was the First Earth Day?." National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Web Accessed April 15, 2021.↩︎
  6. "The History of Earth Day." Web Accessed April 15, 2021. ↩︎
  7. UN General Assembly. "Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 22 April 2009." United Nation. Web Accessed April 15, 2021.↩︎
  8. "The History of Earth Day." Web Accessed April 15, 2021. ↩︎
  9. "Our Successes." Web Accessed April 15, 2021. ↩︎
  10. Conserve Energy Future. "What is Earth Day?" Web Accessed April 15, 2021.↩︎
  11. "Our Successes." Web Accessed April 15, 2021. ↩︎

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