5 Important Earth Day Facts

A calendar with Earth Day notated

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Earth Day has become a significant annual occurrence created to support the health and well-being of our environment. Many of us may not know too much about this critical day, however. Once you learn a bit more about why there's a day reserved to honor the planet's health, you'll find there are plenty of meaningful ways you and your family can help others become more aware of the holiday's importance.

Here's a brief list of five of the most important facts about Earth Day, along with links to sites with more facts and information.

  • 01 of 05

    When Earth Day Is Celebrated

    Calendar showing Earth Day
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    Earth Day is celebrated every year on April 22. While the month has plenty of reasons for celebration, Earth Day shouldn't be overlooked. It's intended more as a way to support and celebrate the Earth than an acknowledgment of the planet's challenges. Many events occur during the weekends before and after Earth Day. There are reasons why Earth Day is set in April. Read on to learn about why this date was chosen.

  • 02 of 05

    History of Earth Day

    Autumn sunset over National Mall
    Danita Delimont / Getty Images

    The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970. There was a lot of momentum that led up to that fine spring day as people across the country had sought an outlet to express growing environmental concerns. Learn more about Earth Day history, including what happened on April 22, 1970; the activists behind the day's events; and why Earth Day became just one part of the larger environmental movement.

  • 03 of 05

    Best Earth Day Quotes

    Woman reading book while relaxing on deck chair
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    Though the environmental movement is a relatively recent phenomenon, humankind has generally cared about Mother Earth since the dawn of time. The greatest writers and philosophers have observed, obsessed, and written about their love and concern for Mother Nature for centuries. Read inspirational Earth Day quotes that help illuminate that past.

  • 04 of 05

    Famous Environmentalists

    2004 Nobel Peace Prize Winner Wangari Maathai

    Corbis / Getty Images

    Greta Thunberg, the young Swedish environmentalist, may come to mind as the most well-known climate change activist. However, there are plenty of other authors, writers, photographers, and activists trying to make the public aware of the challenges facing the planet.

    Some have already passed on, such as Wangari Maathai, pictured above, who died in 2011 but was awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 2004 for fighting for the rights of women, the politically oppressed, and the natural environment.

    Read the brief biographies of 12 notable environmentalists for Earth Day so you can get acquainted with those behind the movement.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Why National Parks Exist

    Naturalist John Muir
    Hulton Archive / Getty Images

    John Muir, pictured above, is perhaps the country's most famous and influential naturalist and conservationist, and many say he's solely responsible for the creation of the United States' national parks. Some say he sparked the environmental movement in the 1800s when he fell in love with the then-unspoiled land of California.

    He published countless articles and books that recounted the beauty of the land as well as the wilderness destruction he witnessed throughout his travels. In 1901, Muir released a book about the country's land that caught the attention of President Theodore Roosevelt. In 1903, Roosevelt visited Muir in Yosemite. Together, they established innovative conservation programs that became the roots of Earth Day as we know it today.