“The objective was to get a nationwide demonstration of concern for the environment so large that it would shake the political establishment out of its lethargy,” said United State Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970.
Wisconsin’s Nelson is remembered not only as a staunch environmentalist who brought the environmental grassroots movement to the top of the political and social agenda, but also as the founder of Earth Day.
First observed on April 22, 1970, the day is observed to honor earth and bring our collective focus on its well-being. Though our words, actions, and intentions should always be cognizant of global sustainability – regardless of the day – take a deliberate opportunity on this day to take action and remember why we are fighting for the health and perpetual life of our planet.
Prior to the Nelson’s establishment of Earth Day, people in the U.S. – and around the world for that matter – were seeing factories spew toxic clouds of smoke often equated to “economic growth.”
We saw damaging environmental change and with it we saw a crucial need to create legislation, organizations and other regulatory mechanisms to protect the environment from the degradation it faced. 
The stage for that first-ever celebration of Earth Day was set by booming industry with no regulations, belching smoke and sludge into the environment, causing visible damage to water and air quality.
Earth Day’s grassroots movement was fueled during the anti-war era during the Vietnam War. Nelson took the American public’s energy and created a new political agenda people could put their energy towards. He brought the earth and environmental concerns to the front page, creating it a top priority politically and socially.
Earth Day united groups of people who protested and spoke out against issues such as oil spills, wildlife extinction, loss of wilderness, pesticides, freeways, toxic dumps, and polluting power plants and factories. Despite the obstacles, the struggle to save Earth – and it really shouldn’t be that, but it is – continues today. 
That first commemoration in 1970 achieved political alignment between American dichotomies; the rich and poor, Republicans and Democrats, city dwellers and farmers. This incredible feat that got its start in the U.S. is now celebrated around the world and in a multitude of significant ways. In 2000, the 30th anniversary of Earth day, hundreds of millions of people in 184 countries celebrated, with a focus on “clean energy.”
Green Apple Festival Earth Day events took place in 2007, filling venues to capacity in New York City, San Francisco and Chicago, bringing hundreds of thousands of people in harmony of one purpose. To celebrate Earth.