So far, 2016 is poised to be another record-breaking year. Year to date (January-March), the average temperature for the globe was 2.07 degrees F over the 1981-2010 average. With statistics like this, it’s easy to feel forlorn about the state of the planet, but it’s also important to remember the strides we’ve made to improve our planet.
The First Earth Day
In 1969, the Cuyahoga River off the coast of Lake Erie became so polluted that it caught fire. Just a few months prior, an oil rig leaked millions of gallons of oil off the coast of California. These incidents, and others, garnered national attention and then-Senator Gaylord Nelson organized a nationwide “teach-in” about environmental issues on April 22, 1970—what would become the very first Earth Day. Nearly 10 percent of the country’s population participated in the day, including more than 2,000 colleges and universities, 10,000 public schools, and 20 million citizens.
Here are five big successes in the 46 years since the first Earth Day.
We've expanded our marine protected areas
Our air is cleaner
Our waterways are cleaner
We're much better at predicting extreme events
We've made progress reducing overfishing