Posted by Trevor Smith on April 21st, 2010
This year Earth Day marks a couple of milestone birthdays: 40 years since the original US Earth Day in 1970 and 20 years since the first International Earth Day in 1990. Organized as a series of teach-ins by a small group of educators and environmentalists, the 1970 Earth Day was envisioned as a grass-roots response to the environmental crisis of the day, inspired by the impact of and lack of government action in response to an oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara CA. Planners aspired to attract crowds as large and passionate as those protesting the war then being waged in Viet Nam to make themselves heard on the issue of the environment. From their actions, 20 million demonstrators observed the first Earth Day and urged leaders and citizens to make the changes necessary to preserve the health of the planet. Since that time Earth Day has grown to become an international event, marked in 141 different countries in 1990 to where it is today, about to be celebrated by a billion people in over 190 countries and coinciding with the World People’s Conference on Climate Change.