The idea for a national day to focus on the environment came to U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. In 1969, the concept of Earth Day was established at a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Conference in San Francisco. On March 21, 1970, a sanctioned Proclamation was signed by Secretary General U Thant at the United Nations. A month later, on April 22, 1970, U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day.

While it may be overwhelming to change everything, one small change can make a significant impact. Consider any of these opportunities to participate:

  • Support and use recycling programs in your community
  • Volunteer to clean up local parks and streets on clean up days
  • Support and shop at green businesses
  • Use re-usable products versus disposable
  • Repurpose items that have outworn their use
  • Shop secondhand and thrift stores for gently used items
  • Use energy-efficient appliances
  • Walk, ride your bike, or rideshare whenever possible
  • Research the environmental impact of your habits and make adjustments

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