Historical & Current Events dictionary

Earth Day

[ urth dey ]

What is Earth Day?

Earth Day is a day devoted to celebrating the Earth and raising awareness about and taking action on environmental issues, such as climate change and pollution.

Earth Day is one of the most widely observed international events, with many large environmental organizations holding different events in observance of the day. It often has a different theme each year, though its core mission is the protection of the environment.

Earth Day is sometimes called International Mother Earth Day, which is the name used for the day by the United Nations (though the day precedes the UN’s involvement).

When is Earth Day?

Earth Day takes place every year on April 22.

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Related words

zero-waste travel, climate crisis

Where does Earth Day come from?

The first Earth Day was observed in the US in 1970. It was organized as a day to hold widespread protests against industrial pollution and environmental destruction with an aim of increasing environmental protections by the government, especially in areas that impact human health. It was inspired by the environmental movement of the 1970s and was in part a specific reaction to the large oil spill that occurred in waters near California in 1969. Early organizers included Senator Gaylord Nelson, Congressman Pete McCloskey, and activist Denis Hayes.

The first Earth Day event and the movement it was established to represent are thought to have contributed to the creation of the US Environmental Protection Agency and laws like the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. Earth Day has since become more widely recognized and was first observed internationally in 1990. Today, the mission of Earth Day is largely focused on taking action on the climate crisis.

Examples of Earth Day

I'm planning this panel on climate change for Earth day and I honestly didn't think it would work out, but we have two speakers confirmed
@Hosanna59263028, February 3, 2021
No time to waste. We’re making plans and setting dates. On April 22, the @WhiteHouse will host a virtual Leaders’ Climate Summit. Yes, that’s Earth Day. Yes, it’s our favorite day. We’ll share more details in the coming weeks!
@SciDiplomacyUSA, February 4, 2021
Now more than ever, Earth Day offers an opportunity for us all to reflect upon our relationship with the planet, amid the most powerful possible message that nature can surprise us at any moment, with devastating consequences for pretty much every individual.
Richard Deverell, The Guardian, April 22, 2020
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Who uses Earth Day?

Did you know … ?

  • It’s estimated that up to 20 million people participated in protests and other activities related to Earth Day during its first year in 1970.
  • The 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day was observed in 2020.

What are other words used in discussion of Earth Day?

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Note

This is not meant to be a formal definition of Earth Day like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of Earth Day that will help our users expand their word mastery.