The Origins Of Earth Day

Ah, Earth Day. Annually marked on the 22nd of every April, unless you work for HOK, in which case it’s Go Barefoot Day. But close enough.
Image from Charming Milo

How did this holiday, which usually only gets play with people like the EG staff and elementary schools, come to pass? And what does it have to do with “Green Acres?”

Earth Day is, without a doubt, the youngest holiday that’s so widely accepted. The term hadn’t even been invented until 1969, when it was announced there was going to be one in 1970.

A creation of Senator Gaylord Nelson, it was designed to become a grassroots movement that would highlight the needs of the planet. Nelson, who had been trying to figure out how to get political attention to swing towards environmental issues since 1962, chose April 22nd and the first round of Earth Day “teach-ins” were held.

Since then, Earth Day has seen increasing support. Millions of people, of all faiths, nationalities, and races celebrate it annually, and 2007 was the largest celebration to date. However, perhaps the most endearing thing about the holiday is the footnote surrounding the reason Earth Day is on April 22nd: Eddie Albert.

Yes, that Eddie Albert: the warden in The Longest Yard, and Oliver on Green Acres. The actor was so active in the early environmental movements that the decision was made when organizing Earth Day that it should be held on his birthday, April 22nd. After this, he proudly spent celebrating the planet, instead of himself, for the rest of his life.