Celebrating 50 years of Earth Day

We should all strive to be more sustainable and protect our planet every day, but there’s one extra-special day of the year where we can all come together and celebrate our planet. This year, April 22 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.  

 The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970, after U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson witnessed the effects of a massive oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, in 1969. He suggested a national day to focus on the environment. The first Earth Day hoped to place environmental protection onto the national agenda.  

 On April 22, 1970, 10% of the American population demonstrated for a healthy and sustainable environment across the United States. By the end of 1970, the United States government had established the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency. In 1990, Earth Day went global and mobilized 200 million people in 141 countries to lift environmental issues onto the world’s stage.  

 Today, over 190 countries participate in Earth Day, and an estimated 1 billion people participate in various Earth Day related activities.  

 Every year, various Colorado State University departments host events and activities for the community to learn and experience Earth Day for the entire week in mid-April. However, in light of recent developments, many of these events will be moved online – the EcoLeaders are planning a Virtual Earth Day Festival on April 20; check https://aggieecoleaders.colostate.edu/ for more details as the date approaches. 

 Pandemic or not, there are still ways individuals can celebrate Earth Day within their own spaces. This includes planting a tree in your own backyard, solo-riding a bike to explore local natural habitats, and even mending some well-worn clothes with holes and rips.  

 We hope to continue engaging with the CSU community virtually though online resources, and planning to celebrate the next 50 Earth Days with passion and exuberance. 

 While we hope that everyone lives every day sustainably, we hope you take some extra time on April 22 (and during the whole month of April) this year to celebrate the planet and learn more about what you can do to ensure a sustainable future for the Earth here at CSU and in the greater Fort Collins Community.  

Find out more about sustainability at CSU at green.colostate.edu