Earth Day is intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s
natural environment. It was founded in 1970 by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson
of Wisconsin (below). While this first Earth Day was focused on environmental
issues in the United States, an organization launched by Denis Hayes, who was
the original national coordinator in 1970, took it to the international level in 1990
and organized events in 141 nations. Earth Day is now coordinated globally and
is celebrated in more than 175 countries every year. In 2009, the United Nations designated April 22 International Mother Earth Day.