By Cynthia Ibanez
Earth Day was first officially decreed a nationally observed holiday on April 22, 1970. The movement to promote environmental consciousness and protection of our fragile ecosystems was founded by U.S. Senator of Wisconsin at the time, Gaylord Nelson. Inspired by both an oil spill in California and the anti-war movement of students across the country, Nelson acquired the help of other political figures to start a “national teaching” of the environment. The selected date, April 22, seemed to be the most ideal because it fell right in between high school students’ spring break and finals. On this day, 20 million Americans participated in massive nationwide rallies to promote a healthy, sustainable environment while several colleges and universities protested the degradation of the planet. It was on this day that groups fighting against environmental issues such as wildlife extinction, pollution, toxins, loss of wilderness, oil spills and more, realized that they all had common ground: preserving the fragile environment. This coast-to-coast event is described as a gamble by its founder, Gaylord Nelson, but one that worked by reaching a rare political alignment that led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency by the end of 1970. As the years go by, the focus of Earth Day is altered to address more prevalent problems of the time, such as global warming and clean energy. Despite challenges faced, with over a billion people celebrating it every year, Earth Day has become the largest secular observance in the world. The 2020 Earth Day celebration will mark the %0th anniversary of Earth Day, an important milestone in which activists will try to make a change for the betterment of our environment.