Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day. It was renamed officially by the U.N. in 2009 as International Mother Earth Day, and some schools and communities celebrate the day for an entire week. Also, the first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970.
Each year on April 22, celebrations are held in more than 192 countries for Earth Day, as of 2015. The purpose of the day is to show support for protecting the environment. While a UNESCO conference in 1969 suggested holding the day on March 21, the United States chose to celebrate the day separate on April 22 each year. Not until 1990 did the April 22 date become internationally recognized around the world as Earth Day.
Senator Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day in the United States and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award for doing so. On the first Earth Day, 20 million Americans participated in peaceful demonstrations to show their support for environmental reforms. Two-thousand colleges and universities also participated that day, as did 10,000 primary and secondary schools. Some popular activities that people partake in on Earth Day include planting trees, collecting garbage, cleaning up coral reefs, signing petitions and planning for a better planet.