May 21, 2024   4:56pm

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Who knew the Environmental Protection Agency was formed by Richard Nixon and other interesting facts …

Since 1970, Earth Day has been going strong as a way to bring environmental issues to the forefront, both in the United States and around the world, but who’s behind this whole Earth Day business in the first place, and how did it get its start?

According to the site Earth Day Network (, “… founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, proposed the first nationwide environmental protest ‘to shake up the political establishment and force this issue onto the national agenda.’ ‘It was a gamble,’ he recalls, ‘but it worked.’

At the time, Americans were slurping leaded gas through massive V8 sedans. Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of legal consequences or bad press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity.”

Then, according to the site, during 1970 “groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values”. This resulted in 20 million people celebrating the country’s first Earth Day, which in turn led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency by Richard Nixon, which resulted in the Clean Air Act of 1970, the ban on lead-based paints in ’71, the ban on DDT in ’72, the phasing out of leaded gasoline in ’73, and the list goes on.

All of this from one man’s push to bring some much needed change to the world. Earth Day’s Senator Nelson was later awarded for his work with the highest civilian honor– the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Now, only one year away from its 40th anniversary, Earth Day is a holiday celebrated across the globe. If you’re in New York City, check out the events going on around town here.

And, if you like, you can give the Earth a present via carbon offsets (click here to learn more about).

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