The first Earth Day took place on April 22, 1970. Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson proposed this national teach-in on the environment in order to get the attention of the federal government and prove that public opinion was ready for a bold political agenda on environmental problems. Credited with crystalizing the growing concerns of ecological crises in the United States and beyond, Earth Day is now recognized around the world as a day of education, action, and reflection.
“Our goal is not just an environment of clean air and water and scenic beauty. The objective is an environment of decency, quality and mutual respect for all other human beings and all other living creatures.”
Two Decades Later, Earth Day Recognized Internationally
It took 20 years for the Earth Day movement to go global, but when it did it did so with a bang. Today, more than 200 million people in over 140 nations participate. From Costa Rica to South Korea, Russia to Brazil, people pay tribute to the day by planting trees, cleaning up their communities, and educating their children as to how they can make a difference in their neighborhoods and beyond.
International Mother Earth Day
The United Nations General Assembly renamed Earth Day to International Mother Earth Day in 2009 because it recognized that terms meaning “Mother Earth” are used by many cultures, reflecting the interdependence of humans, other animals, and plant life on our planet. With people around the world moving into cities, this year’s International Mother Earth Day focuses on green cities—creating healthy, sustainable environments by “greening” communities around the world.
Earth Day Ranks Third after Christmas and Halloween
Due in large part to the Earth Day Network (EDN)—a US organization that educates and mobilizes communities in the US and around the world to get involved with environmental initiatives and events—Earth Day is the third most activity-inspiring event of the year in schools across the United States. In the 2005–2006 school year, EDN was one of the first organizations to champion what has since become a green school movement. The success of this campaign inspired former President Bill Clinton, on behalf of the Clinton Foundation, the US Green Council, Earth Day Network, and other partners to announce a commitment to converting schools into green schools within a generation. According to Earth Day Network, the program has reached over 30,000 educators annually and has saved millions of dollars and millions of pollutants from entering our environment.
It’s apparent when you do a simple Google search for “Earth Day activities” that getting kids involved is a popular way to mark the day. From coloring pages with smiling planets to planting events to tips on creating works of art from recycled materials, the options are endless. And they look really fun!
If you’ve moved beyond arts and crafts, and would like to get involved or learn more about Earth Day, visit EPA.gov (where you’ll find a schedule of live Twitter Chats), Earth Day Network (for information about this year’s activity and projects), or the UN’s International Mother Earth Day page for worldwide initiatives.
Join in the earth-wise spirit on this Earth Day by choosing to download one or more of Rosetta Stone’s language-learning products. By downloading to your computer or mobile device, you’ll get the same Complete language sets as in our boxed set—and you’ll keep one less bit of packaging out of circulation and out of your local landfill!