Earth Day turns 40 This Year!

April 22, 2010 marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, the annual day of action and advocacy to protect the environment and help preserve our planet’s resources.

The first Earth Day in 1970 was a significant marker in the development of the modern American environmental movement. What began as a day of environmental teach-ins across the country has grown into a day of community cleanups, conservation workshops, tree-plantings and numerous year-round programs promoting environmental awareness and action. This year, nearly 1 billion people worldwide are expected to take part in 2010 Earth Day celebrations to work for the environmental health of our planet.

Creating effective environmental legislation is an important aspect of both Earth Day and the wider environmental movement. Since its founding in 1971, the Congressional Black Caucus has helped lead the way in legislating environmental policy regulations and oversight agencies. CBC members have proposed and supported legislation including advocating for clean air and water as well as for the safe transportation and removal of toxic and hazardous materials. Their efforts have helped pass numerous environmental protection laws including the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Energy Policy Act and the Clean Energy Act. Today, CBC members continue to have some of the strongest voting records on environmental issues.

This Earth Day, consider writing a letter to a CBC member or other state and Congressional representatives to encourage them to make or keep the environment one of their legislative priorities. Find contact information for your representative at or senator at

To learn more about the CBC’s legislative efforts on behalf of the environment, visit the Avoice Environmental Justice Exhibit and our new Environmental Justice teaching unit.

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