What is Earth Day?

April 22, 2021

What is Earth Day?

Earth day is right around the corner --are you ready to celebrate? While it’s not the most well-known holiday, Earth Day has been gaining some serious momentum throughout the years. Why? Because our beautiful Mother Earth deserves some love, and it’s about time we take a moment to celebrate her -- that’s why!

You might be wondering: ‘How in the world (pun totally intended) am I supposed to celebrate?’ ‘How can I show support for this big ol’ ball of gas?’ ‘What awesome earthy activities can I partake in?’

Well, you came to the right place! In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about Earth Day, including some fun facts about our amazing planet and what you can do when your calendar says April 22nd.

Let’s dive in, shall we?

OK, First Things First. What Exactly IS Earth Day?


Simply put, Earth Day is the day designed for fostering appreciation and love of the Earth’s remarkable environment and awareness of the environmental issues that threaten it. You see, in the decades leading up tothe first Earth Day in 1970, people in the U.S. were consuming vast amounts of leaded gas through massive and inefficient automobiles. Big corporations and factories spewed black clouds of toxic smoke with little to no fear of the consequences from either the law or bad press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity, and dumping tons of toxic waste and sludge into our waterways was the norm.

Up until this point, mainstream America remained largely oblivious to environmental concerns and how a polluted environment could threaten not only human health but the health of this big, beautiful planet we all call home.

What Changed?

More and more research was coming out about the environmental problems that we're facing, with books like Rachel Carson'sSilent Springand many, many more, and that information was starting to fall into the right hands.

Senator Gaylord Nelson -- a junior from Wisconsin -- had long been concerned about the deteriorating environment in the U.S. But he wasn’t just concerned; he was disgusted and didn’t understand why it wasn’t a bigger issue discussed amongst politicians. Then in January 1969, Senator Nelson and many others witnessed firsthand the ravages of a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, and the damages it caused to the environment. Senator Gaylord Nelson immediately went into action and created Earth day in the spring of 1970, changing the world forever and really kickstarting the environmental movement.

The event says an unbelievable20 million people across the U.S. took to the streets -- that’s roughly 10 percent of the country’s population at the time. It was a truly astonishing grassroots explosion, leading eventually to national legislation such as the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act, as well as the Endangered species Act.

Years later, in 1980, Nelson wrote, “It was on that day that Americans made it clear that they understood and were deeply concerned over the deterioration of our environment and the mindless dissipation of our resources.”

Is Earth Day Celebrated All Around The World?

Yes! Today, Earth Day is recognized all over the world. But the very first Earth Day was positioned as a specifically American movement. It actually wasn’t until 1990 (a little more than 30 years ago) that the environmental leaders really made the push to make Earth Day a global holiday -- which was definitely no easy feat! Think about it: social media didn’t exist, so reaching a global audience couldn’t happen with the click of a button.

But Earth Day organizers were dedicated and determined to see their movement involve the entire planet it was striving to protect -- so they pushed forward with telephone calls, teach-ins, and increased organizational efforts. National coordinator Denis Hayes -- who was involved in the first-ever Earth Day in 1970 -- led the globalization of the Earth Day movement. Hayes and his team successfully mobilized an incredible200 million people in 141 countries that year — how's that for activism?

Earth Day has evolved quite a bit since then in order to shed light on critical issues -- such as global warming -- and is a beloved holiday celebrated far and wide.

Fun Facts About Earth Day

Now that we’ve covered the incredible history behind this revolutionary holiday, let’s dive into some of our favorite Earth Day fun facts that you can share with your pals when you get together to celebrate:

Fun Fact #1: The Date Was Chosen To Appeal To College Students.

Believe it or not, Senator Nelson and Denis Hayes intentionally chose April 22nd as the day to celebrate our beautiful planet in order to attract more college students -- who were known for being politically active during that era of protest. The date fell perfectly between final exams and spring break, leaving room for college campuses to abound Earth Day info.

Fun Fact #2: Other Countries Know It As “International Mother Earth Day.”

Yup, it’s true. International Mother Earth Day is the name that the special holiday was given by the United Nations in 2009. Here is the U.S. -- we still call it plain old Earth Day.

Fun Fact #3: The Earth Day Movement Drove The Creation Of The Environmental Protection Agency.”

The Environmental Protection Agency ( or EPA for short ) was approved by President Richard Nixon in 1970 as a result of the Earth Day movement. Legislation on clean water, clean air, endangered species, and toxic substances were passed, too.

Fun Fact #4: It’s Not A National Holiday

Although it’s celebrated by millions across the U.S., Earth Day is not an official national holiday. Many employers, however, do offer the day to their employees to volunteer.

Fun Fact #5: Around a Billion People Recognize Earth Day Each Year

The Earth Day Network is recognized as the largest secular observance in the world, reaching people in more than 190 countries. Social media and online platforms help share important messages.

Fun Fact #6: There’s An “Official” Earth Day Song.

Did you know that there’s an Earth Anthem? Yup -- written by Indian poet Abhay Kumar in 2013, this popular song has been translated into dozens of different languages, including English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Arabic, Hindi, and Nepali.

Fun Fact #7: There Was a "Plant Trees, Not Bombs" Campaign In 2011

To celebrate Earth Day in 2011, more than 28 million trees were planted by the Earth Day Network in Afghanistan as part of their “Plant Trees Not Bombs” campaign.

Fun Fact #8: Bikes Across Beijing In 2012

On Earth Day in 2012, more than a whopping 100,000 people rode bikes in China to raise awareness about climate change. Biking showed how people could reduce carbon dioxide emissions and save fuel burned by vehicles.

Fun Fact #9: Earth Day Is Not The Same As Equinox Day

Equinox Day -- which also celebrates the idea of caring for the planet -- is held on the first day of spring annually, usually on March 20th. Last year, however, Equinox Day occurred on March 19th, the earliest arrival of spring in more than a century.

Fun Fact #10: Everyone Can Participate In Earth Day

People of all ages can march, clean up their communities, plant trees, and reduce waste in their own homes to participate in Earth Day. Proactive corporations and governments often use the holiday to announce sustainability measures and pledge to support the environment. High schools can focus on environmental education and climate action, educators for little people can talk about how to recycle, and so much more.

How To Celebrate Earth Day

Now that you’re fully equipped with the history and an arsenal of fun facts, let’s explore some awesome things you can do to celebrate Earth Day:

Plant A Garden Or Add A Touch Of Greenery To Your Space

If you have a backyard (or even a window box), now is the perfect time to plant your very own garden. A tiny herb garden is so easy to grow and maintain, and it provides fresh and tasty flavors to your future dishes! Plant veggies, flowers, a tree -- the possibilities are truly endless.

Show Your Support For Mother Earth With Some Rad T-Shirts

Want to really show your support for the planet? Why not rock an out-of-this-world (pun totally intended) T-shirt like the one fromFamous In Real Life? Whether you just loveMother Earth or are a proud member of theFlat Earth Society, we’ve got something to tickle just about anyone’s fancy!

Donate To Charity

If you’re not able to participate in Earth Day activities like beach cleanups or festivals, you can still make a world of difference (see what we did there?) from home. Whether you want to promote clean energy or protect endangered species -- there’s a charity for you.

Spend Time Outdoors

Sometimes it's really easy to get so caught up in what’s happening on social media (or with the Kardashians) that we tend to forget how much fun it can be to get outside and breathe in the fresh air. And especially today, with the Coronavirus pandemic, many of us are spending lots of time indoors.

Earth Day is an excellent reminder of how awesome and beautiful our planet is -- take advantage of it! If you happen to have a backyard, spend the afternoon outdoors reading or eating lunch. If you live in a major city, on the other hand, and outdoor spaces are crowded, try going for a nice stroll at an off-hour when the streets are quieter.

Just try to spend some time outside and show some love to the remarkable place we all call home.

Buy Reusable Bags

Believe it or not, it’s been estimated that Americans use roughly 100 billion plastic bags annually, and just the production alone for those plastic bags requires around 12 million barrels of oil. Not to mention, they take up an unbelievable amount of space in landfills, resulting in major issues for marine wildlife.

This year, buy some super cute reusable bags to use when you go to the grocery store. You’ll not only be oh-so-stylish but eco-friendly as well -- bonus!

Volunteer For An Earth Day Event In Your Area

Not sure who is having an Earth Day event or how to sign up? Most counties have a website that provides all the events in your area-- nothing a quick Google search couldn’t help you find, whether you're in New York City, Washington D.C., or any of the other many places that celebrate Earth Day.

Beat the heat with your favoriteLove Your Mother Earth tank top!

Use A Refillable Water Bottle

Just because you are tossing your plastic water bottles into the recycling bin doesn’t mean they’re not doing damage to the environment. Besides the fact that it takes a shocking 1.5 billion barrels of oil to manufacture all of those bottles annually, there are still over two million tons of water bottles that have ended up in U.S. landfills. We know -- *mind blown*.

What can you do to help, you ask? Buy a reusable bottle. Seriously, something this simple can make all the difference.

Look For Stars

Earth Day just happens to correlate with the peak of theLyrid meteor shower, so if you've ever wanted to pick up stargazing, now is the time! If clear skies permit, throw down a cozy blanket on the lawn, snuggle up next to your SO and look up -- you just might be rewarded with a shooting star or two.

Bottom Line

Since its inception back in 1970, Earth Day continues to grow as a worldwide phenomenon focused on promoting clean living as well as a healthy, sustainable habitat for people and wildlife alike. Celebrating this revolutionary holiday serves as a conscious reminder of how delicate our planet is and how important it is to protect it.

Show Mother Earth some love and appreciation this April 22nd by supporting her the best you can. Whether that is with anout-of-this-world t-shirt from Famous In Real Life or by swapping your plastic water bottle for a reusable one, get out there and celebrate!

Here atFamous In Real Life, we make some of the best clothes around, featuring designs from movies, tv shows, and more. We make shirts with character because, well, life’s too short to wear boring clothes. Simply put -- our shirts will make you famous!

Check out our one-of-a-kindinventorytoday and look nothing short of fabulous tomorrow.


EPA History: Earth Day | EPA History

The History of Earth Day | earthday.org

2021 Lyrid meteor shower: All you need to know | Earth Sky

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