5 Facts You Didn't Know About Earth Day

April 22 is Earth Day, when people from all corners of the world unite to support environmental reform.  Earth Day is intended as a moment to reflect on and help preserve the health of the planet – but here are 5 things that you might not have known about the annual event. 

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Senator Gaylord Nelson Was The Founder of Earth Day In 1970, U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson was looking for a way to promote the environmental movement. He proposed the idea of "Earth Day." His plan included classes and projects that would help the public understand what they could do to protect the environment. The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970. The holiday has been celebrated on this day every year since.

April 22 Was Chosen as Earth Day Because It Was Also Arbor Day April 22 is Earth Day not because that's when college students are most likely to be on campus, despite some claims. April 22, 1970, was Arbor Day, the day celebrating trees and planting trees. It seemed like an appropriate day to spotlight how the planet was doing. Granted, April 22 is usually too late for spring break and too early for finals, so it is a good day if you want to involve college students. But Earth Day itself was given that date just because of the connection to Arbor Day.

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Earth Day Went Global in 1990 Earth Day may have originated in the U.S., but today it is a global phenomenon celebrated in almost every country around the world.Earth Day's international status owes its thanks to Denis Hayes. He is the national organizer of Earth Day events in the U.S. In 1990, he coordinated similar Earth Day events in 141 countries. More than 200 million people around the world took part in these events.

A Number of Trees Have an Astronomical Link to Earth Day Back in 1971, an astronaut on the Apollo 14 mission brought some tree seeds with him as he orbited the moon. The point was partly to see how lowered gravity would affect the seeds and partly to pay tribute to the Forest Service, for which the astronaut used to work. The container holding the seeds broke open prematurely, making the gravity experiment pointless, but many of the seeds were still planted around national monuments, and they still grew normally, forming a select group of trees that have been called "Moon Trees."

Earth Day Has Its Own Flag The Earth Day flag is fairly obvious: it’s an image of the planet (the famous “Blue Marble” picture that was taken by the Apollo 17 spacecraft as they travelled towards the Moon) placed on a dark blue background. It was created by John McConnell and has caught on perhaps because it is such a neat way of realizing what Earth is about: the entire planet, and its health.