National News

Earth Day Fast Facts

Posted June 13, 2013 9:03 p.m. EDT
Updated April 24, 2018 9:12 a.m. EDT

— Here's a look at Earth Day, which is celebrated every year by more than a billion people in 192 countries around the world.

Facts: Earth Day is celebrated every April 22, but some events take place on the weekends before or after the 22nd.

It was created in the United States to increase public awareness of environmental problems and is now celebrated around the world.

Earth Day is credited with starting the environmental movement in the United States.

Timeline: September 1969 - Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-WI) proposes the idea for a nationwide teach-in about the environment.

April 22, 1970 - The first Earth Day takes place across the United States. Approximately 20 million people participate, taking to the streets and parks to demonstrate for environmental causes.

1970 - Congress creates the Environmental Protection Agency and passes the Clean Air Act.

1990 - The 20th anniversary of Earth Day sparks renewed interest and an increase in activities and participation.

1995 - Senator Nelson is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his role as Earth Day founder and his work on other environmental issues.

April 22, 2007 - Activists rally on Capitol Hill for drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions - 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

March 31, 2016 - The United States and China issue a joint presidential statement concerning climate change. President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping will sign the Paris Agreement, a global commitment confronting climate change, on the forthcoming Earth Day.

April 22, 2017 - The first non-partisan "March for Science" -- whose beginnings reflect the viral birth of the Women's March on Washington -- takes place on Earth Day. It is comprised of scientists and their supporters, and largely grew out of opposition to President Donald Trump's environmental and energy policies. The main rally occurs on the National Mall in Washington, in addition to more than 500 "satellite marches" taking place around the world.