April 21, 2015

The History of Earth Day

How the internationally celebrated day came to be
Earth Day is celebrated internationally every year on April 22. This year marks the 25th anniversary of Earth Day Canada.

Earth Day is celebrated internationally every year on April 22.

Earth Day came to be when over 20 million Americans began demonstrating environmental protests in the streets, auditoriums and classrooms on topics ranging from clean air and water to endangered species. On April 22, 1970, the modern environmental movement was conceptualized and the collective need for a sustainable way of living was brought to attention.

Earth Day was first celebrated in Canada by a small yet influential group in 1990, leading to the establishment of Earth Day Canada (EDC), a national environmental charity which overlooks Earth Day events and supports Canadians in celebrating the largest environmental event worldwide across 196 countries.

Today marks Earth Day Canada’s 25th anniversary, and is being celebrated with the launch of the “Earth Day Every Day” campaign which includes an online-mobile friendly platform. The first month of the campaign will focus primarily on clean commuting so the platform allows you to access a personal dashboard, choose from 25 sustainable commuting options and gain rewards for your commitments. The University of Calgary has a number of sustainable commuting programs and incentives available to students, staff and faculty wanting to take part.

The university also opened a Sustainability Resource Centre (SRC) in Science B 101 six months ago today to help promote education, engagement and collaboration around sustainability on a daily basis from a visible and central location on campus. The SRC is open to campus members and the public during the Fall and Winter semesters from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and serves as a great springboard for anyone wanting to celebrate and take part in sustainability and Earth Day every day.

The university's ongoing commitment to sustainability is also reflected in its Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) Gold Rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education and recent top ten Corporate Knights ranking among the Future 40 Responsible Leaders in Canada.

To learn more about sustainability on campus and how you can get involved, visit the institutional sustainability website.