Earth Day is just around the corner, and it got us thinking. When did Earth Day begin? Why did it begin? What exactly is it celebrating? Here we examine the beginnings of this seminal day in order to ignite inspiration for this year’s actions.

The first official Earth Day occurred on April 22, 1970. Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, founded the annual event with the momentum of change happening in the United States at the time, especially among college students. Therefore, he chose a date that would henceforth fall between Spring Break and Final Exams. The inaugural event consisted primarily of rallies around the United States where thousands expressed their concern for the environment and of current large scale practices they felt were harming it. Political unity and progress soon followed with the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.

In 1990 Earth Day became a global affair with 200 million people in 141 countries participating. Soon to follow was the pivotal United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. In 2010 Earth Day was reinvigorated and 250,000 gathered at the National Mall for a Climate Rally. Today, one billion people celebrate Earth Day every year – it is the world’s largest non-religious celebration.

This year Comcast Cares Day, the country’s largest day of corporate volunteering, falls on April 22. More than 100,000 Comcast NBCUniversal volunteers will work on improvement projects, many of which will focus on the environment. We are looking forward to furthering the original mission of Earth Day: to unite and inspire.

Source: The History of Earth Day