In the winter of 1969, Denis Hayes gave a lecture at Columbia University, seeking to establish and promote the celebration of a new “holiday,” Earth Day. A small group of local attendees took-up his challenge and agreed to organize and lead the New York City activities. And what a good job they did! On this day in 1970, Earth Day was first celebrated in a handful of American cities—and New York City made a particularly impressive showing.
Mayor John Lindsay agreed to close-down Fifth Avenue and made Central Park available for the festivities. More than a million people turned-out for the New York celebration and Manhattan’s local news—that is, ABC, NBC, CBS, Time, Newsweek, and The New York Times—captured the enthusiasm. This extensive press coverage gave Earth Day a very strong start.
Now, 44 years later, the goal of Earth Day remains the same: to demonstrate support for the Earth and promote environmental protection. Today, however, it is a world-wide celebration, observed by 192 countries around the globe. Organizers claim a billion people observe Earth Day internationally—making it the largest secular holiday celebrated world-wide.
The globe, pictured above, shows the Earth (as it was mapped in 1921). Please click on the photo to learn more about it.