At the Forefront of Change on Earth Day.


ECelebrate Earth Dayarth Day began in 1970 and is now the largest celebrated environmental movement worldwide. It is meant to increase the awareness of important climate change facts and inspire people to take action.  Terrapass shares tips on how to reduce your carbon footprint.

The Birth of Earth Day

There is an ongoing debate on who started Earth Day: John McConnell or Nelson Gaylord. As it sometimes happens, great minds think alike – both men were committed to gaining widespread support behind environmental issues and inspiring people to take part.

John McConnell, a community activist, established Earth Day on a global scale by pushing the idea of it at a UNESCO Conference on the Environment in 1969. In March 1971 on the spring equinox, UN Secretary General U Thant rang the Peace Bell and issued a proclamation declaring Earth Day.

It is also written that Earth Day’s founder was Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin.  He had seen the devastation of the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California and was inspired by the student anti-Vietnam war movement. On April 22, 1970, Nelson, created a day of environmental education and activism that he called Earth Day, where 20 million people participated.

Earth Day went global in 1990, with 200 million people engaged in 141 countries, finally bringing environmental issues to the world’s attention.  Today, more than 1 billion people worldwide participate in Earth Day each year.  For more about the Earth Day Network, visit

Inspiring Change

Regardless of who started the Earth Day movement, it comes down to people like John and Gaylord who inspire us to make positive change for our environment. Keep reading to find out about a few other inspiring individuals who are making a difference and should be recognized on Earth Day.

Pick it upShelly Pollock is a great example of how change starts small. After making a New Year’s resolution to do something about all of the trash on the beach in Ocean Park, Washington,she started cleaning up the shore near her house. Along the way she met like-minded individuals who also wanted to make a difference. This started the Grass Roots Garbage Gang in 2001. Now this movement has grown to hundreds of volunteers. To date, they have completed over 35 coastal cleanups, collecting nearly 250 tons of waste!

Wind energyDavid Suzuki is no stranger to most environmental issu   es of today. As a broadcaster, activist, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation, he raises global awareness about issues of climate change. Thanks to David Suzuki’s educational efforts, people all over the world have begun to realize the need to co-exist with nature. As a result, topics like renewable energy and carbon emission reduction became a part of national politics.

Sustainable business makes change happenVinod Khoshla, Bill Gates and investors like them are putting their money in a future of a different kind – our planet. They are partnering with scientists to start projects like the development of clean power storage and conversion of waste to biofuel. Now, each year the world is adding more capacity in renewable energy than in fossil fuels. These environmental projects offer significant public health benefits, added jobs and an inexhaustible renewable energy supply.

These leaders are just a few that we have listed.  For other environmental change agents click here.

What Can You Do?

You don’t have to be an activist or political leader to make a difference. Big or small, change always starts with passion and understanding. This Earth Day use Terrapass’s carbon footprint calculator and get to know your impact on the planet. Carbon offsets are a great place to start to make a difference as they support renewable energy projects across the US.

To get you moving, we have collected some great tips on how to go green and reduce your carbon footprint this Earth Day and every day thereafter. Check them out on our TerraPass Facebook page, share your suggestions and achievements in the comments section, and stay tuned for new carbon emission reduction tips every day this week. If you take small actions, together, they will add up to a big difference. Every person you inspire will tell others and create a ripple effect. You may not see the result right away, but if you continue your efforts for change, it will definitely come.

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