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Life and living: The dirt on Earth Day

Have you ever wanted to dig deep into Earth Day and uncover the nitty gritty of the meaning behind it? Well, pull on your gloves and get your trowel ready, because we’re going to uncover some dirt—and plant some seeds on ways you can celebrate.

What is Earth Day? 

Every April 22, Earth Day is a global celebration of environmental protection and sustainability. It’s not just about being environmentally conscious; it’s about finding ways to preserve and improve the environment. 

Why was Earth Day created? 

After witnessing a massive oil spill that leaked millions of gallons of oil off the coast of Santa Barbara, Senator Gaylord Nelson created Earth Day to force the lack of environmental protection onto the national agenda. 

When was Earth Day first observed?

Initiated by Senator Nelson, Earth Day was first observed on April 22, 1970, in the United States. This led to the establishment of significant environmental laws in the United States, including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act. 

When did Earth Day become recognized worldwide? 

In 1990, when a group of environmental leaders organized a major campaign that mobilized 200 million people in 141 countries. 

When did the United Nations get involved? 

The UN joined Earth Day celebrations in 2000—on the 30th anniversary of Earth Day. They dubbed Earth Day “International Mother Earth Day” in 2009, but the United States still calls it Earth Day.

A few fun facts: 

  • About 1 billion people celebrate Earth Day each year. 

  • The official theme song for Earth Day is “Earth Day Anthem,” and it was written by Indian poet Abhay Kumar in 2013. 

  • Google’s first Earth Day doodle was in 2001.

Ways to celebrate Earth Day at home and at work 

  • Clean up your local environment.

  • Dry your clothes outdoors. 

  • Support local farmers.

  • Go geocaching.

  • Plant native trees in your office courtyard. 

  • Tour local waterfalls. 

  • Support pollinators by planting pollinator-friendly flowers.

  • Climb (or hug) a tree. 

  • Swap out kitchen, household and office products. 

  • Attend an education workshop about environmental sustainability. 

  • Create an office recycling system. 

  • Hold a team fundraiser for an environmental charity or organization.

  • Host or attend a composting workshop.

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