Following a wave of environmental disasters and growing concern about our air and water quality, in 1969, Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson suggested Earth Day as a national teach-in. 

He called upon students, universities, and all citizens to oppose environmental carelessness and demand environmental protections with the same energy that they displayed in opposing the Vietnam War.   

And it worked.

How many people showed up for the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970? 

50,000 100,000

1 million 20 million

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