6 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Earth Day

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How much do you actually know about this special celebration?

Not much? Don’t sweat it, we’re here to help. We’ve scoured the internet to find the top 6 most interesting and useful facts, so be sure to jot them down to impress your friends later:

1. After witnessing the damage of the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, US Senator Gaylord Nelson came up with the idea of a “national teach-in on the environment.” On April 22, 1970, twenty million Americans participated in the very first Earth Day celebration, occupying streets, parks, auditoriums, and college campuses to protest the deterioration of the environment.

2. In December 1970, following the first Earth Day, Congress authorized the creation of a new federal agency to deal with environmental issues, known as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Today, the EPA still works with Congress to enforce regulations protecting human health and the environment.

3. Since the creation of Earth Day, over one billion people in 192 countries choose to participate in their community’s activities, making it the largest civil observance in the world.

4. Surprisingly, there is actually another Earth Day. Both were launched in 1970, but the one many people probably don’t know about falls on March 21, the spring equinox, when night and day are exactly the same length of time. Conservationist, John McConnell, chose this day to represent a time of equilibrium and balance.

5. An official Earth Day Ecology flag was created by cartoonist Ron Cobb on November 7, 1969. It is patterned after the United States with a symbol that combines the letter “E” and “O” which stand for “Environment” and “Organism.”

6. Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ode to Joy melody is not only the formal anthem of the European Union, but it also serves as the tune for the official Earth Day anthem. If you’ve never heard this before, check it out here.