Earth Day's Evolution: From Historic Roots to 2021

Hand holding miniature globe toward mountainscape

April 22nd is Earth Day! There’s no better time to honor our planet and reflect on ways we can invest in our ecosystem, for the wellness of everyone alive today and for countless generations to come. In honor of the annual occasion, the Colorado’s Best Drinks team explores the holiday’s roots and evolution through the past several decades in our Beverage Blog guide to Earth Day. Sit back with a can of your favorite Sparkling CBD beverage, and read on to learn how a grassroots environmental movement radically improved our planet's fate.

What Inspired Earth Day?

For nearly a century after the start of America’s Industrial Revolution, unchecked pollution throughout the nation wreaked untold environmental havoc. Thousands of the world’s first inefficient automobiles spit out thick clouds of smoke and leaked chemicals across the nation’s roads. Factories filled the air with smog sans government oversight or penalties for needless pollution. With little-to-no awareness of the rapidly accruing damage, and zero incentive to improve, air quality took a sharp turn for the worse. The foul smell of toxic waste was largely regaled as the pungent proof of social and technological progress, without due consideration of the longterm damage it could bring.

Thankfully, Rachel Carson’s 1962 New York Times bestselling novel Silent Spring drew sharp criticism of the rampant pollution’s impact on the planet at large. By showcasing an irrefutable connection between reckless, wasteful practices and deteriorating public health, Carson opened the eyes of over half a million readers, sparking a sharp uptick in environmental consciousness and adamant demands for change.

Room to Grow

In January of 1969, a colossal oil spill in Santa Barbara caused catastrophic damage to the area’s plant and animal life. Determined young Americans of the day were vocally protesting the Vietnam war and speaking out against restrictive social norms. Senator Gaylord Nelson seized this opportunity to voice serious concerns about air and water pollution. Nelson hoped that socially-conscious students and other sixties-era innovators would be inspired by his pleas and expand their passionate pursuit of social change to include environmental causes. He suggested a “teach-in” at colleges throughout the country, through which environmentalists could educate students about the growing problems caused by reckless pollution. Republican Congressman Pete McCloskey shared Nelson’s determination to conserve our planet and joined Nelson’s burgeoning cause as co-chair. Local activist Denis Hayes oversaw planning for the teach-ins and decided that April 22nd was the perfect date to maximize the engagement of college-aged activists. Why? April 22nd, 1970 fell on a weekday following Spring Break, far enough in the future for sufficient preparation, but before the rush of final exams would consume students’ attention. In the months before the date arrived, Hayes recruited eighty-five employees throughout the United States to organize and fight for our environment. The team quickly recognized that their message had the power to mobilize more people than the nation’s students, and they strived to get the word out to anyone who would listen.

Earth Day Starts Strong

Hayes and his collaborators decided on the name "Earth Day" as the occasion approached which helped to spark media interest. Concerned citizens throughout the country gradually got word of the growing movement, including members of a diverse range of religious and social organizations. As Americans became more conscious of the ways our actions impact our ecosystem, environmental activism steadily increased. More than twenty million people – roughly ten percent of the U.S. population – embraced Earth Day 1969 with ecofriendly projects and vocal activism, proudly fighting back against the damage we’d collectively caused in the century prior. College students and everyday citizens far and wide took to the streets to demand attention and regulations to prevent more needless waste and harm. One year later, Earth Day 1970 changed history as a revolutionary bipartisan success. In fact, the revolutionary new holiday resulted in the founding of the Environmental Protection Agency (or E.P.A.). Earth Day also sparked the passage of several groundbreaking environmental protection policies shortly thereafter – including the Occupational Safety and Health Act, Clean Air Act, and National Environmental Education Act.

First, Our Own Backyards – and Later, the World

Twenty years later, Denis Hayes was asked to recreate the historic inaugural occasion with another widespread day of social action. On its twentieth anniversary, Earth Day participation surged to a staggering 200 million participants worldwide. Earth Day 1990’s massive success set the stage for the United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro two years later. The movement also earned Senator Nelson the Presidential Medal of Honor for the immense benefits his environmental efforts had (directly and indirectly) caused worldwide. Hayes' additional campaign for Earth Day 2000 included than five thousand participating environmental groups across an unprecedented 184 nations worldwide. Millions of individuals joined forces to fight for our planet, which served as a powerful testament to humankind's collective capabilities to create essential change across the globe.

Earth Day 2021 – Where Are We Now?

Today, more than a billion individuals worldwide celebrate Earth Day each year. Fifty-one years after the holiday’s historic start, Earth Day is considered the single largest non-religious holiday. Concerns about environmental waste – and corporate greed sacrificing the wellness of the world at large – are as relevant as ever and have only grown more urgent. As air pollution continues to disintegrate our deteriorating ozone layer, the fate of humanity itself is facing serious risk. Thankfully, none of us needs superpowers to take immediate actions toward environmental changes which could collaboratively save the world. By researching, volunteering, planting vital crops like hemp, cutting back our carbon footprint, and engaging in continued advocacy, we can take incredible strides toward a preserved and protected . Working together to improve the Earth in every possible way can help to undo the immense damage of reckless pollution – dramatically improving global health and quality of life for countless generations ahead.

Enjoy Our Eco-Friendly Sparkling CBD Drinks!

For the past year, countless individuals have done everything possible to help minimize the spread of COVID-19 and hasten society's safe return to normalcy. Many of us have started working from home, homeschooling our children and spending more evenings in than usual. As such, there’s never been a better time to venture into the open air (at a safe distance from others) and do whatever we can to help our planet. While you're at it, why not crack open a vegan, gluten-free and BPA-free can of our hemp-infused sparkling CBD beverages?

Visit our Sparkling Shop to order a twelve-pack or a forty-eight pack of Sparkling CBD Citrus Water, Hibiscus Water or our other delicious products today - all delivered to your doorstep for no additional cost. All five flavors of our sparkling CBD sodas (and our two flavored Sparkling CBD water options) are delicious and refreshing. Our products all contain phytocannabinoid-rich, broad spectrum hemp extract. Better yet, each sparkling CBD beverage flavor is vegan, non-GMO, and free of gluten, sodium, and preservatives. PCR hemp extract is one of just five ingredients in every can of Colorado's Best Drinks, and you’ll taste that sweet simplicity with every sip.