Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary!

While we socially distance and modify our daily routines to limit the spread of Coronavirus, individually celebrate Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary on April 22nd – the planet’s largest civic event by learning more about climate actions, conservation, our home watershed, and promoting a healthy, sustainable environment.

What is Earth Day?

Earth Day started on April 22, 1970, when a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin and Earth Day founder, Gaylord Nelson witnessed the devastation caused by the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Senator Nelson and his co-chair, Congressman Pete McCloskey recruited Denis Hayes from Harvard to coordinate a national staff of 85 who promoted events across the United States. On the first Earth Day, 20 million Americans rallied together to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment and protect against the deterioration of the environment. This became the start of the environmental movement and led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.

In 1990, Denis Hayes organized an Earth Day that went global with 200 million people in 141 countries taking part and addressing environmental issues.

Earth Day is now a celebration of the environment in 193 countries and an opportunity to further raise awareness on conservation and sustainability on all forefronts of environmental topics such as water, energy, air, and wildlife.

Earth Day 2020 Campaign – CLIMATE ACTION

Every single one of us can take a stand against climate change by making small but pivotal changes to our daily habits. Here are five actions to consider:

  • Take 10 — Whether it’s an overrun trash can or a public square, take 10 minutes to beautify the area and be proud of your mini accomplishment
  • Garden and Farm to Sequester Carbon — Your garden soil has the ability to absorb and store atmospheric carbon. This process is called carbon sequestration. Plants are the ultimate and cheapest way to pull excess carbon dioxide out of the air. Consider planting a tree, which helps lower greenhouse gas emissions, cool your home and your neighborhood, and significantly improve local air quality.
  • Bike for climate-friendly traffic — According to the EPA, a typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. Support your local businesses when you get there by bike or walking.
  • Participate in a clean-up — There are many beach, creek, and park clean-ups that occur every week, month, and year. Visit to stay up to-date on any upcoming environmentally friendly events happening around the watershed.
  • Reduce and reuse —Reduce consumption, reuse items like coffee mugs and clothing, and compost organics and food scraps in the yard waste bins. Check with your local agency to see what types of materials can be recycled: Mendocino County – Sonoma County –

 Take Part!

Each year there are many Earth Day events occurring in the Russian River watershed throughout Sonoma and Mendocino Counties. However, as the coronavirus continues to spread, event organizers have recently been canceling or postponing Earth Day 2020 public gatherings. Please visit to stay up to-date on any upcoming environmentally friendly events and workshops around the watershed during the year.

This article was authored by Sabrina Marson, RRWA Staff. RRWA ( is an association of local public agencies in the Russian River Watershed that have come together to coordinate regional programs for clean water, habitat restoration, and watershed enhancement.