Earth series: A short history of Earth Day

Earth day is in a sense, not new; for millennia, people across the globe have, every day, been celebrating, protecting and living in harmony with the beauty of the earth.

This short post marks the start of our ‘Earth Series,’ where we will be looking at the history of the day, the impact of it and the ways brands & creators have engaged with the initiative. 

Earth day is in a sense, not new; for millennia, people across the globe have, every day, been celebrating, protecting and living in harmony with the beauty of the earth. The history of an ‘Earth Day’ (capital D) however, dates back to the late 1960s, when growing concern about the state of the environment led to the creation of an event that sought to act as a reminder of the importance of environmental protection and conservation. 

In 1962, Rachel Carson published a groundbreaking book called “Silent Spring,” which exposed the devastating impact of pesticides on the environment. (David Attenborough has stated that the book is one of the most important ever, in changing the scientific world.) The book sparked a wave of concern about the health of the planet, and in 1969, Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, USA, had an idea to create a day where people could come together and rally around the cause of environmental protection. This day became known as Earth Day, and the first event was held on April 22, 1970. Millions of people across the United States participated in rallies, protests, and other events, which in part, helped to catalyse the modern environmental movement. 

‘Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, urban dwellers and farmers, business and labor leaders. By the end of 1970, the first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of other first of their kind environmental laws, including the National Environmental Education Act,  the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and the Clean Air Act’

The event had already gained significant momentum in the United States and in 1990, the event went global, as a result of the growing awareness of the environmental challenges facing the planet. Since then, Earth Day has continued to grow and evolve into a day for people to learn about environmental issues and take action to protect the planet.

As concerns about climate change have grown, Earth Day has subsequently become even more significant. In 2020, we celebrated the 50th anniversary, and the theme was ‘Climate action’. The event was celebrated virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a global online mobilisation that brought together millions of people from around the world.

The theme for Earth Day 2023 is ‘Invest in our planet’. ‘In 2023 we must come together again in partnership for the planet. Businesses, governments, and civil society are equally responsible for taking action against the climate crisis and lighting the spark to accelerate change towards a green, prosperous, and equitable future…’ Kathleen Rogers, President of 

As we face the challenges of climate change, Earth Day remains an important opportunity for people to come together, discuss and share ideas, and work towards a sustainable future. It is a day to celebrate the progress made in protecting the environment, but also a call to action to continue the fight for a cleaner, healthier planet, for that day, and everyday. 

You can read more about the history of Earth Day here and get some ideas for taking action from one of our amazing creators, here.

Episode 2 follows shortly.