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Earth Day 2022

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History of Earth Day

The first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, a nationwide teach-in on the environment, was inspired by anti-war teach-ins on college campuses that Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, read about in an article on the plane ride home after witnessing the devastation from an oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, in 1969.

photograph of protestors with sign near overflowing trash
Protestors in New York City at the first Earth Day in 1970, by photographer Bernard Gotfryd

“Our goal is an environment of decency, quality and mutual respect for all human beings and all other living creatures – an environment without ugliness, without ghettos, without poverty, without discrimination, without hunger and without war. Our goal is a decent environment in its broadest and deepest sense. Winning the environmental war is a whole lot tougher battle, challenge, by far, than any other challenge ever to confront mankind.”
– Earth Day Founder, U.S. Senator, and Wisconsin Governor, Gaylord Nelson

book cover of Beyond Earth Day with photograph of Earth from space and photograph of Gaylord Nelson

The 1970s is known as the “Environmental Decade.” The Environmental Protection Agency was created and the following acts were passed during this period:

  • National Environmental Policy Act – 42 U.S.C. §4331 et seq. (1970)
  • Clean Air Act – 42 U.S.C. §7401 et seq. (1970)
  • Clean Water Act – 33 U.S.C. §1251 et seq. (1972)
  • Endangered Species Act – 16 U.S.C. §1531 et seq. (1973)
  • Safe Drinking Water Act – 42 U.S.C. §300f et seq. (1974)
  • Hazardous Materials Transportation Act – 49 U.S.C. §5101 et seq. (1975)
  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act – 42 U.S.C. §6901 et seq. (1976)

Earth Day Now

The theme for this year is Invest in Our Planet. Here are 10 ways that you can get involved as an individual. (More tips here!)

  • Use the Internet not trees
  • Turn off lights when not in use
  • Switch to reusable bags
  • Switch to online billing
  • Encourage the use of reusable utensils, dishes and trays
  • Buy local food
  • Eat less meat
  • Use a reusable water bottle
  • Practice sustainable fashion
  • Skip plastic, buy glass or paper products

Events are happening here at CSUN and around Los Angeles.

Learn More