In 1970, when Earth Day was first established, many Americans lived in a nation plagued by air pollution, water contamination, industrial waste, and pesticides. It was dirtier and more hazardous than it is now, and environmental activists knew they needed to take action.

Despite increasing awareness of environmental problems, America still lacked effective environmental laws to safeguard citizens from hazardous pollution and materials. As a result, cities and towns were facing the effects of smog, acid rain, polluted rivers, toxic waste sites, and more.

To combat these dangers, the first Earth Day galvanized citizens into action and demanded change from the government. This spurred the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, which has made remarkable strides in safeguarding people against environmental hazards.

Earth Day and The Clean Air Act Establishing Groundbreaking Environmental Laws
The Clean Air Act and Water Act have been two of the most influential environmental laws ever passed, revolutionizing how we think and act on Earth. While we’ve made great strides in cleaning up air and water pollution, work is still needed to be done if everyone wants a sustainable future.

Environmental safeguards are vital, but more work needs to be done in order to save our planet from climate change. Even with the strongest safeguards in place, we may be unable to slow down climate change or avoid its most severe consequences.

Global warming has already passed a tipping point, and it appears unlikely that we can stop it. Therefore, we need to reduce our carbon emissions and move away from fossil fuels.

To achieve this goal, we need to increase environmental and climate literacy – an indispensable tool for citizens taking meaningful action in their communities. This includes understanding how weather works and why it matters, understanding how climate change impacts us personally and globally, as well as learning strategies on how to lessen its effects.

We must learn to utilize our resources more efficiently, which includes adopting strategies for recycling and reducing waste, as well as creating green jobs and energy sources. The most successful approaches involve partnerships, collaboration, and cross-sector coordination.

Earth Day began as a way to bring environmental issues back into the political spotlight in America after being sidelined for too long. Through Earth Day 1970, people from all walks of life came together around shared values to make the threat to our environment real and speak out about it.

In 2012, the Earth Day Network (EDN) was formed by leaders in climate and environmental justice movements to build a global network that empowers individuals to transform their communities. Its vision is for everyone around the world to be well informed on climate change issues and aware of its unprecedented threat to humanity.

With the support of EDN, communities around the world have taken action – from teaching-ins in their homes and neighborhoods to supporting grassroots groups, holding protests, and lobbying for better policies.