A Little Earth Day History

April is here, and with that comes the busiest time of year for CompuCycle! We have our annual Earth Day event approaching fast, but first, let’s dive into some Earth Day history and find out how it all began!

Did you know Earth Day marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970?

Although mainstream America largely remained oblivious to environmental concerns, the stage had been set for change by the publication of Rachel Carson’s New York Times bestseller Silent Spring in 1962.  The book represented a watershed moment, selling more than 500,000 copies in 24 countries and beginning to raise public awareness and concern for living organisms, the environment, and links between pollution and public health.

Earth Day 1970 gave voice to that emerging consciousness, channeling the anti-war protest movement’s energy and putting environmental concerns on the front page.

Earth Day History - CompuCycle

The idea for a national day to focus on the environment came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California.

On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.


Earth Day is currently the largest secular observance globally, celebrated by more than a billion people every year, and a day of action that changes human behavior and provokes policy changes.

Today, the fight for a clean environment continues with increasing urgency, as the ravages of climate change become more manifest every day. Help us be a part of Earth Day and create many more chapters—struggles and victories—into the Earth Daybook.


Share This Post