Earth Day: 5 interesting things about the environmentalist holiday

Why April 22?

A 1920 photograph of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (1870-1924), the Russian Revolution leader more commonly known by the name Lenin.
A 1920 photograph of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (1870-1924), the Russian Revolution leader more commonly known by the name Lenin. | Public Domain

The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970, leading some critics of the environmentalist movement to claim that it was done in homage to Communist leader Vladimir Lenin, whose birthday on the Gregorian calendar was April 22, 1870. (On Russia's old style calendar, in use until 1917, it was April 10.).

“While it is entirely possible, and indeed probable, that Gaylord Nelson and other establishment greens did not deliberately pick Lenin’s birthday to celebrate Earth Day, I believe the young anti-capitalist students knew precisely what they were doing in selecting April 22,” reads a Competitive Enterprise Institute blog entry from 2015.

Get Our Latest News for FREE

Subscribe to get daily/weekly email with the top stories (plus special offers!) from The Christian Post. Be the first to know.

“Most environmental economists of the time believed that only socialist countries would ably protect the environment, because the governments there were acting for the good of all mankind, while capitalists in the West cared only about profit maximization and not a whit about the environment.”

According to Snopes, the “more mundane” reason for April 22 was because Gaylord Nelson “wanted a date that fell during the Spring but would be far enough into the season that the weather would likely be temperate enough for outdoor celebrations.”

“He also wanted a date late enough in the calendar to avoid any potential conflicts with school exams, spring breaks, or Easter/Passover celebrations that might find students too busy or too far away from school to attend the teach-in,” continued Snopes.

“Having determined that the week of April 19–25 was optimal for his purposes, Nelson selected the mid-point of that week (Wednesday, April 22) for what would later become celebrated as the first ‘Earth Day.’”

Follow Michael Gryboski on Twitter or Facebook

Was this article helpful?

Help keep The Christian Post free for everyone.

By making a recurring donation or a one-time donation of any amount, you're helping to keep CP's articles free and accessible for everyone.

We’re sorry to hear that.

Hope you’ll give us another try and check out some other articles. Return to homepage.