Earth Day: 5 interesting things about the environmentalist holiday

Going global

A march held in London, England, in observance of Earth Day 2023.
A march held in London, England, in observance of Earth Day 2023. | Screengrab: YouTube/Brit Clip

While the holiday was initially restricted to the United States, Earth Day officially became a global observance in 1990, with a reported 200 million people from over 100 countries holding events that year.

“In Gdansk, Poland, students bicycled through the Baltic port's Old Town to protest air pollution. Environmentalists in western Japan gathered and burned an estimated six tons of trash on a beach,” reported The Washington Post at the time.

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“In Chamonix, France, two ice sculptors carved a giant thermometer on the Mer de Glace glacier to protest global warming.”

That same year, approximately 3,600 American cities also held events, including a major rally at the National Mall in the District of Columbia, and a New York City event that had hundreds of thousands turn out.

“In 2000, Earth Day focused on clean energy and involved hundreds of millions of people in 184 countries and 5,000 environmental groups, according to [Earth Day Network (EDN), a nonprofit organization that coordinates Earth Day activities],” noted

“Activities ranged from a traveling, talking drum chain in Gabon, Africa, to a gathering of hundreds of thousands of people at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.”

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