|Judy Moody and Denis Hayes organizing for the first Earth Day.|
The first Earth Day involved 20 million demonstrators engaged in teach-in's, sit-in's, and gatherings involving thousands of schools and communities. The scale of involvement astounded founders, the media, and the political establishment. Today, Earth Day is a global celebration inspiring conservation-related activities.
Earth Day founder Senator Gaylord Nelson wrote,
Earth Day worked because of the spontaneous response at the grassroots level. We had neither the time nor resources to organize 20 million demonstrators and the thousands of schools and local communities that participated. That was the remarkable thing about Earth Day. It organized itself.
|Earthrise, December 24, 1968, Apollo 8, 075:48:54 mission time. Image presented in correct mission orientation as seen by astronauts Jim Lovell, Bill Anders, and Frank Borman orbiting the stark gray moon.|
The image of the first Earthrise observed by human beings and broadcast to global television viewers just seventeen months earlier is credited by many as the inspiration for the groundswell of support for the first Earth Day and the modern era of popular environmentalism. The image of our blue planet, looking small, distant, and alone in the blackness of space, delivered a paradigm shift, rendering invalid the popular perception of endless resources, endless capacity for pollution and exploitation. Earth became Spaceship Earth.