Earth Day is an annual global event observed on April 22, a day to reflect upon our planet’s magnificence and to commit to doing our part to protect the environment. The first Earth Day was introduced back in 1970 as a response to the devastating 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, which released more than 4 million gallons of oil into California’s sensitive marine ecosystem.
Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson believed if he could take the momentum of the student anti-war movement and channel that same energy into environmental protection, the issue would gain national awareness and support. On April 22, 1970, Nelson and his counterparts from both sides of the aisle, encouraged 20 million Americans who shared the same passion for preserving the environment, to stage demonstrations and rallies across the country in favor of a healthy, sustainable planet. Nelson’s efforts eventually led to national legislation such as the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act.
Some say that the April date was chosen to maximize the number of students who could be reached on university campuses. Others believe the date was selected because it fell close to Arbor Day. Planting new trees in honor of Earth Day has become a common practice, as it helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and aids in combating pollution. This Earth Day, Ronin Gallery celebrates the natural beauty of earth's trees and forests in our weekly online exhibition.
Today, Earth Day is coordinated globally by Earth Day Network, and celebrated in more than 192 countries. For example, in Japan Earth Day is a momentous occasion marked by two-day gathering in Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park. Since its inception in 2001, over 100,000 people gather at Yoyogi Park each year for the festivities. 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and takes the theme Climate Action. While this years' activities and events might look a bit different than celebrations, the passion to protect the health of our environment remains strong and more important than ever.
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