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The first Earth Day was dreamed up as a massive teach-in in 1969.

By the time it was held in 1970, it had grown to engage and motivate over 20 million people across the United States to take to the streets in support of environmental protection. That Earth Day is still the single largest protest in our nation’s history.

It seemed clearer in 1970, when the shock of discoveries like the harm of pollution and the threat to the bald eagle was still fresh and the Cuyahoga River was on fire, that our environment is bigger than party and politics.

This Earth Day, instead of dreaming of “planet B” or just planning for resilience in the face of environmental change, let’s dream of restoring habitat, celebrating pollinators, replanting forests, and eliminating pollution! 

In 1990, Earth Day went global. Imagine the impact, if every person on the planet celebrating Earth Day 2022 took even one positive action to mitigate climate change and restore our shared environment. No one person can solve global problems alone, but they can participate in change, and more people must do just that for global problems to be addressed. Let’s remember that sense of shared urgency and agency from the first Earth Day, and act!

Image: Jean-Michele Cousteau touring the site for the Gulf Coast Eco Center with students during the ground saving event.

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