Brownielocks and The 3 Bears
Cartoon Fun

The History of Earth Day

One of our Weekly Cartoons relating to environment is Ozone Layer.
Another cartoon is called Picking Up Litter.

During the late 1960's, a concern for the environment began and emerged into the public view with people such as Ralph Nader (safety issues) and many others fighting the pollution of our waters by huge corporations -- especially chemical plants.

But the idea of preserving our environment wasn't a new idea.  Actually, explorers, writers, poets, naturalists, artists, photographers in the past were all speaking out about saving the beauty of what they saw.

Naturalists like John Muir (founder of Yosemite National Park), John J. Audubon (Audubon Society for Birds) and Henry David Thoreau (writer) were already fighting to save the American wilderness from destruction through so-called progress.

It was through their efforts that the national park system in the United States were developed.  And other nature groups like the Sierra Club and the Wilderness Society.

But years later, in 1962 a writer named Rachel Carson wrote a book called "Silent Spring" in which she really brought the message to the American public of saving the environment.  She warned people about the deadly effects of chemical pollution, and was the catalyst behind the passing of federal laws banning DDT and other harmful agricultural chemicals.

But, it was really Senator Gaylord Nelson (not Ira Einhorn --- see links below) who came up with the idea for setting aside a day to honor the environment in which we live. This "Earth Day" resolution was passed by 42 states.  Senator Nelson's  resolution was to hold a "teach-in" day.  This meant a full day of rallies, speeches, lectures, marches or parades and other programs (depending on the area) designed to raise public awareness of the hazards facing our environement.

Senator Gaylord Nelson is also credited with being the first Senator to introduce the bill banning DDT.  He later then sponsored numerous bills preserving the Appalachian Trail and other wild scenic areas in the United States.

(P.S. I've walked on part of that trail and it's really cool to know that others before you like Daniel Boone walked there too.)


The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970.  More than 20 million Americans took to the streets to demonstrate their concerns for making a safer environment.

How cities celebrated Earth Day varied. Some, to help cut down on auto emissions, lowered bus fares that day to get more people to take the bus and do mass transportation than drive cars.   At Boston's Logan Airport, 200 demonstrators carried empty coffins into the airport as a protest against noise-pollution because the airport had plans to expand.  Others even did more sticky and drastic expressions such as dumping garbage on the steps of their local government buildings like courthouses, or state legislature steps.

Mayor John Lindsay of New York led a march that closed down part of the city's Fifth Avenue (one of their busiest commercial streets in the world.)

In Washington, D.C. more than 200,000 gathered on the Mall in front of the Capitol building to encourage government officials and their fellow citizens to preserve the wilderness and the earth's natural resources.

The observation of Earth Day has lost some of it's original enthusiasm, but that hasn't stopped it from spreading worldwide over the past 30 years.  It is now estimated that approximately 200 million people in 136 countries celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Earth Day movement.

April 22 is also Arbor Day, which emphasizing planting of trees. We did a page on that too.

 If you are wondering why I have not mentioned that Ira Einhorn started Earth Day or anything about him it's because of all the controversy.  And, I like to be as accurate as I can and so I am providing links below to those who want to learn about that area concerned with Earth Day.  But, it's not  recommended for children! I'd say more teens? Parents and teachers you decide.


Ira Einhorn
Founder of Earth Day?
Murderer of his girlfriend
in 1977 - Holly Maddox?

To the right are some links with further information regarding the scandal behind the self-proclaimed founder of Earth Day.

Because of the gruesome murder, I am providing links  only without discussing it here on this page.

Warning! None of these links are suitable for young children, because the details of her murder are not toned down.

Information Source: "Holiday Symbols, 2nd Edition"
by Sue Ellen Thompson
Omnigraphics, Inc. © 2000

Midi Title: "Fresh Air" By C.J. Kang

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