Happy Earth Day—a special day when all of us should focus on the importance of our planet and what we can do to improve its health.
Earth Day was created in 1970 in hopes of bringing about environmental reform in America. It began in the United States with schools celebrating—20 million students, teachers and parents! Today more than a billion people from 192 countries are expected to celebrate Earth Day in some way!
The inspiration for Earth Day was a terrible oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara, Calif., in 1969. Sen. Gaylord Nelson, from Wisconsin, was so horrified by the spill, he went back to Washington, D.C., and proposed Earth Day. He chose Harvard student Denis Hayes to organize the nationwide event. Out of Nelson’s idea sprang other legislation designed to protect our environment. The Clean Air Act was later created to protect the air we breathe. It includes regulations to protect our water, wild lands and the ocean.
Earth Day activities around the world are still organized by Hayes through his Earth Day Network. It promotes international awareness of many environmental issues. Scientists and dedicated environmentalists urge us to change our lifestyles and to continue research for alternative fuel sources.
What causes global warming? While scientists are still researching the causes, we do know that an increase of methane gas and carbon dioxide has contributed to global warming. Crowded highways cause more than traffic headaches—all those cars are putting more carbon dioxide into the air.
Global warming is when the Earth’s temperature, and the temperature of the oceans, rises. The rising temperatures can cause floods and affect the weather. Scientists are concerned about melting glaciers and rising ocean levels.