1. This year marks the 45th birthday of Earth Day! Also turning 45 this year? Tina Fey, The Beatles “Let It Be” Album, Mary J. Blige, and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water”.
2. Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day in 1970. After leaving the Senate in 1980, he continued his love for conservation by serving on the board of The Wilderness Society, one of the largest conservation organizations in The United States. In 1995, Senator Nelson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Bill Clinton for his commitment to the environment!
3. 20 million: The number of participants on the very first Earth Day, sparking its success as a permanent movement. People took to the streets to protest in favor of a healthy and sustainable environment
4. In 1990, Earth Day went global with over 140 countries participating. The number of participants keeps growing—in 2000, 180 countries took part in Earth Day activities!
5. Earth Day 2010 saw 225,000 people flock to the National Mall for a Climate Rally, protesting and demanding that Congress pass climate change legislation in 2010.
6. Also a fan of Earth Day? James Cameron, the director of blockbusters Avatar and The Titanic, who launched an international initiative in 2012 to plant 1 million trees over the course of the year.
7. The Canopy Project, an Earth Day Network mission to plant trees “that help communities” has pledged to plant 10 million trees over the next 5 years to reverse the impact of deforestation and help local economies in impoverished areas of the world. So far, they’ve planted over 1.5 million trees in 18 countries.
8. Perhaps the most famous (fictional, but who’s keeping track?) environmental activist? Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, who has become a worldwide symbol for taking action and responsibility to protect the environment.
9. How can you take part in Earth Day? The possibilities are endless! According to the Earth Day Network, you can pledge to compost, buy local produce, reduce your footprint, or stop using disposable plastic. Check out their website for more ways to take action!
10. Looking for a way to give back on Earth Day in DC? Head to the National Zoo on April 22nd, where Earth Day celebrations start with a clean up of Rock Creek Park.
About the Author: While a student at The College of William and Mary, Marisa Weidner volunteered at a school in Belize. A DC newcomer, she blogs about her explorations of the city at The Curated City.