One U.S. senator and a core of young organizers turned April 22, 1970, into the day the environmental movement was born.
On that day, 20 million Americans in 2,000 communities and 10,000 schools planted trees, cleaned up parks, buried cars in mock graves, marched, listened to speeches and protested how humans were messing up their world.
….(Senator Gaylord) Nelson had wanted Earth Day to be a grassroots demonstration of wide public support for environmental issues. The senator who had few allies in the 1960s — "There was no such thing as an environmentalist then," said his daughter Tia Nelson — now had the public on his side. "It was successful beyond his wildest dreams," Tia Nelson said of her father, who died in 2005. "There was no way to anticipate or imagine its impact."