Science, Tech, Math › Science All About Earth Day Earth Day Facts Share Flipboard Email Print Science Chemistry Basics Chemical Laws Molecules Periodic Table Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated February 01, 2019 Are you wondering what Earth Day is, when it's celebrated, and what people do on Earth Day? Here are the answers to your Earth Day questions! Key Takeaways: Earth Day Earth Day is a day designated to raise environmental awareness.Since 1970, Earth Day falls on April 22.There is also Earth Week, which usually runs from April 16 to April 22, but may also include the days before and after Earth Day. What Is Earth Day? Earth Day is April 22nd of every year. Hill Street Studios / Getty Images Earth Day is the day designated for fostering appreciation of the earth's environment and awareness of the issues that threaten it. Many of these issues relate directly to chemistry, such as greenhouse gas emission, anthropogenic carbon, oil spill clean-up and soil contamination from run-off. In 1970, U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson proposed a bill designating April 22 as a national day to celebrate the earth. Since that time, Earth Day has been officially observed in April. At present, Earth Day is observed in 175 countries, and coordinated by the nonprofit Earth Day Network. The passage of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act are considered to be products associated with the 1970 Earth Day. When Is Earth Day? This is the symbol for Earth Day. It is a green version of the Greek letter theta, which represents peace or a warning. Wikipedia Commons If you've been confused about the answer to this question, it is because Earth Day could fall on either of two days, depending on your preference for when you want to observe it. Some people celebrate Earth Day on the first day of Spring (on the vernal equinox, around March 21) while others observe Earth Day on April 22. In either case, the purpose of the day is to inspire appreciation for the earth's environment and awareness of issues that threaten it. How Can I Celebrate Earth Day? Looking for an idea to celebrate Earth Day? Plant a tree!. PBNJ Productions / Getty Images You can honor Earth Day by showing your awareness of environmental issues and by letting others know what they can do to make a difference. Even small actions can have great consequences! Pick up litter, recycle, turn off the water when you brush your teeth, switch to online bill payments, use public transportation, turn down your water heater, install energy efficient lights. If you stop to think about it, there are dozens of ways you can lighten your load on the environment and promote a healthy ecosystem. What Is Earth Week? This is a true-color image of air pollution over China. Red dots are fires while the gray and white haze is smoke. NASA Earth Day is April 22nd, but many people extend the celebration to make it Earth Week. Earth Week usually runs from April 16th to Earth Day, April 22nd. The extended time allows students to spend more time learning about the environment and the problems we face. What can you do with Earth Week? Make a difference! Try making a small change that will benefit the environment. Keep at it all week so that by the time Earth Day arrives it might become a lifelong habit. Turn down your water heater or only water your lawn in the early morning or install energy efficient light bulbs or recycle. Who Was Gaylord Nelson? Gaylord Anton Nelson (June 4, 1916 – July 3, 2005) was an American Democratic politician from Wisconsin. He is best remembered for founding Earth Day and for calling for Congressional hearings on the safety of combined oral contraceptive pills. US Congress Gaylord Anton Nelson (June 4, 1916 – July 3, 2005) was an American Democratic politician from Wisconsin. He is best remembered as being one of the major founders of Earth Day and for calling for Congressional hearings on the safety of combined oral contraceptive pills. A result of the hearings was the requirement to include side effect disclosures for patients with the pill. This was the first safety disclosure for a pharmaceutical drug. What Is the Clean Air Act? This is an example of the type of air pollution known as smog. This photo shows Shangai, China in 1993. The word comes from a combination of smoke and fog. Saperaud, Wikipedia Commons Actually, there have been several Clean Air Acts legislated in various countries. The Clean Air Acts have sought to reduce smog and air pollution. The legislation has led to the development of better pollution dispersion models. Critics say the Clean Air Acts have cut into corporate profits and have led companies to relocate, while proponents say the Acts have improved air quality, which has improved human and environmental health, and have created more jobs than they have eliminated. What Is the Clean Water Act? Water Droplet. Fir0002, Wikipedia Commons The Clean Water Act or CWA is the primary legislation in the United States that addresses water pollution. The goal of the Clean Water Act is to limit the release of high volumes of toxic chemicals into the nation's water and ensure that surface waters met standards for sports and recreational use. When Is Earth Week? Oak tree in a spring meadow. Martin Ruegner, Getty Images Some people extend the Earth Day celebration into Earth Week or even Earth Month! Earth Week typically is the week that includes Earth Day, but when Earth Day falls on a weekend, determining Earth Week may be a little confusing.