In what was the largest public demonstration in history, hundreds of millions of people in 126 countries turned off their lights for one hour on March 27, 2010 in support of World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour. In the U.S., 90 million people–representing every state and the nation’s capital–participated in Earth Hour’s call for action on climate change.
The spirit of Earth Hour will be carried forward in practical ways, as cities and individuals go beyond the symbolism of turning off lights to taking real climate-saving actions in their daily lives. That spirit will be expressed as we move to the 40th anniversary of Earth Day and beyond.
Earth Day was conceived by Wisconsin U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson as a nationwide teach-in day on the environment. The first Earth Day on April 22, 1970 marked the beginning of the modern environmental movement as more than 20 million people organized to protect the planet.
Media coverage of the first Earth Day included a 1-hour special report on CBS News called “Earth Day: A Question of Survival,” narrated by the late Walter Cronkite with correspondents reporting from a dozen major cities across the country. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, public opinion polls indicated a permanent change in national priorities following Earth Day 1970.
During the 1970s, a number of important pieces of environmental legislation were passed, among them the Clean Air Act, the Water Quality Improvement Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act. Another key development was the establishment, in December 1970, of the Environmental Protection Agency, which was tasked with protecting human health and safeguarding the natural environment—air, water and land.
Many cities now extend the observance of Earth Day events to an entire week, usually starting on April 16 and ending on Earth Day, April 22. These events are designed to encourage environmentally-aware behaviors, such as recycling, using energy efficiently, and reducing or reusing disposable items.
Longmont will celebrate Earth Day in conjunction with Arbor Day and the 30th year that Longmont has been recognized as a Tree City USA. It will be held at Thompson Park (4th Avenue and Bross) this Saturday, April 17th between 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM. The event will be held on April 24th in the event of rain.