Mother Earth Day was established in 2009 by the General Assembly of the United Nations, under Resolution A/RES/63/278. The Resolution was introduced by the plurinational state of Bolivia and was endorsed by 50 member states of the UN. Although it was inaugurated on April 22, 2010, it was first celebrated years earlier in 1970. The name Earth Day was an "obvious and logical" name that coincided with Julian Koenig's birthday, who was a friend to Senator Gaylord Nelson, the founder of Earth Day.
On January 28, 1969, an oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, killed thousands of marine life. This fuelled up the then-senator Gaylord Nelson to take action. He then founded a ' teach-in' aimed at reducing human-made effects on environment and climate.
He recruited a staff of 84 others, and designated April 22, 1970, as the first teach-in. During the rally, over 20 million people showed up, including activist groups that were already in place. A peaceful demonstration was held to protest against environmental felonies, wildlife extinction, global warming, among others.
After the success of the event, Denis Hayes, the national coordinator, decided to take the teach-in to an international level in 1990 and organized events in more than 100 countries, where 200 million people participated. Currently, the International Mother Earth Day events are held in over 190 countries and attract participation from more than 1 billion people.
Impacts and Achievements
Earth Day has been instrumental in the creation of many organizations that support environment rehabilitation and wildlife protection, like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It has seen the implementation of the Clean Air Act, Endangered Species Act, and many more laws set to protect the environment.
On Earth Day 2016, the Paris Agreement was signed, aimed at minimizing the temperature rise to less than 3.5°F. The US, in 2017, withdrew themselves from it, citing that climate change effects are "exaggerated". In a research by Gallop, 42% Americans do not participate in the Earth Day events, while a smaller percentage prioritize it.
Participating in Earth Day events enables humanity to reflect on ways to give back to the Earth, and find more ways to reduce threats posed as a result of human ignorance.