Earth Day is an annual event celebrated on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection.
First celebrated in 1970, it now includes events coordinated globally in more than 193 countries.
Origin of “Earth Day”
The event emerged against the backdrop of an anti-war student activist movement. While it’s tempting to assume that Earth Day was the result of a youthful grassroots campaign, it was actually spearheaded through a rare bipartisan partnership between Democratic and Republican lawmakers:
Gaylord Nelson, a Democratic Senator from Wisconsin, horrified by a series of environmental catastrophes that seemingly escaped public outrage and action, was inspired by the success of the youth anti-war movement to replicate a similar movement for environmental protection.
The idea was a national “teach-in on the environment” to raise public awareness about air and water pollution. To achieve this goal, Nelson reached across the aisle to Republican Congressman, Pete McCloskey.
The first Earth Day celebrations took place across two thousand colleges and universities and hundreds of communities across the United States. More importantly, it “brought 20 million Americans out into the spring sunshine for peaceful demonstrations in favor of environmental reform.”
Today, Earth Day celebrations have grown to be a major global event and is celebrated in many different ways.
Taegan Goddard is the creator of the Political Dictionary.
Goddard spent more than a decade on Wall Street as managing director and chief operating officer of a prominent investment firm in New York City. Previously, he also served as a policy adviser to a U.S. Senator and Governor.
Goddard is also co-author of You Won – Now What?: How Americans Can Make Democracy Work from City Hall to the White House, a political management book hailed by prominent journalists and politicians from both parties.
His essays on politics and public policy have appeared in dozens of newspapers and magazines across the country.
Goddard earned degrees from Vassar College and Harvard University.
He lives in New York with his wife and three sons.