Close
Date TimeApril 22, 2018
VoiceToday's Google Doodle celebrates Earth Day with a message from primatologist Jane Goodall.
Jane Goodall Celebrates Earth Day in Sundays Google Doodle
The Earth Day Network, the nonprofit organization that takes the lead in promoting the holiday today, calls it "the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement."
Environmental awareness in the U.S. had been growing throughout the 1960s, and it was a natural fit with the counterculture of the time. Rachel Carson published her book Silent Spring, which argued against the widespread use of pesticides like DDT, in 1962, and it quickly became a bestseller. Popular activism against atmospheric nuclear tests was also starting to gain steam, driven by a growing understanding of how radioactive fallout from one detonation could spread around the globe. Around the country, groups of activists were already advocating for mitigation of toxic waste dumps, conservation of wildlife, and other environmental goals.
In 1969, a blow-out on Union Oil Platform A in the Santa Barbara Channel vented nearly 100,000 barrels of oil into the Channel and onto nearby beaches, with a devastating impact on marine life. It still ranks as the third largest oil spill in U.S. history. That inspired Wisconsin senator Gaylord Nelson to organize a nationwide event aimed at channelling the energy of the student-led protests against the Vietnam War into environmental activism. He organized "a national teach-in on the environment" with the help of congressman Pete McCloskey.
Earth Day channeled the counterculture, but it was thoroughly an establishment project. Even so, it worked. 20 million Americans joined rallies and protests around the country on April 22, 1970.
It's difficult to directly measure the impact of Earth Day. Clearly we've come a long way since 1970: leaded gasoline, with its toxic fumes, is banned. Regulations have drastically improved the quality of our air and water and brought several endangered species back from the brink. By just the second Earth Day, the U.S. federal government had formed the Environmental Protection Agency (which recently rolled back regulations on air pollution), and passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act.
But it's harder to say whether those things changed because of Earth Day itself, or because of an existing impetus for better environmental policies, brought to a head by the Santa Barbara Oil Spill. Earth Day may have been as much an expression of growing public sentiment and political will as its cause. According to the Earth Day Network, though, the first Earth Day united separate environmental causes under a single banner on a massive scale.
Earth Day went international in 1990, and today the Earth Day network calls Earth Day "the largest secular holiday in the world" and estimates that about a billion people worldwide celebrate. But to put that in context, there are about 7.5 billion people in the world, and the music video for "Despacito" had been viewed about 5 billion times as of April 5, although many of those views are almost certainly repeats.
Proponents say the holiday raises awareness of environmental issues and encourages people to think about their own environmental impact. That translates to voter support for environmental initiatives and motivates people to adopt Earth-friendly habits.
On the other hand, it's not clear how well one-day events translate into long-term public engagement and changes of habit. Some of the most effective Earth Day initiatives focus on educating young children, who are more likely to adopt environmentally-conscious habits based on Earth Day messages and activities, and on encouraging adults to take direct action like donating to nonprofit organizations that support conservation and calling their representatives to advocate for environmental legislation. With the EPA now actively rolling back regulations on air pollution and other kinds of environmental impact, that component of the holiday may prove especially relevant this year.
"I am hopeful that this Earth Day Google Doodle will live as a reminder for people across the globe that there is still so much in the world worth fighting for," said Goodall in a statement accompanying today's Google Doodle. "With all of us working together, I am hopeful that it is not too late to turn things around, if we all do our part for this beautiful planet."

Prince Harry arrives at London Marathon after Queen starts it off
'It will not be very pleasant,' Iran warns, if Trump sabotages nuclear deal
Your Gmail account is about to change forever - Five new features every user needs to know
Saudi forces shoot down drone in the capital as Middle East tensions escalate
Nabi Tajima, world's oldest person, dies in Japan at 117
Man bitten by shark, bear, snake in less than 4 years
Verne Troyer, 'Mini-Me' in Austin Powers films, dies at 49
Manchester United’s Ander Herrera sinks Tottenham in semi-final
How to make your own custom Alexa commands
'The first lady of the greatest generation': Barbara Bush honored for her humor and warmth at funeral in Houston
Inspectors visit site of suspected chemical attack in Syria after delays
Melania Trump looks to history for inspired state dinner with the Macrons
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle meet Sydney Invictus heroes
Queen Elizabeth II celebrates 92nd birthday
'Smallville' actress Mack charged in sex trafficking case
Israeli forces kill two at Gaza frontier during fourth week of protests
Trump fires back on Twitter over Democrats' lawsuit
Stormy Daniels' Lawyer Says He Thinks There Are 'Embarrassing' Documents About Sean Hannity
Kim Jong Un: North Korea no longer needs nuclear tests, state-run media reports
Theresa May says Windrush victims will be paid compensation
Democratic Party sues Russia, Trump campaign and WikiLeaks, claiming conspiracy to help Trump win election
Prince Charles reportedly to lead Commonwealth
Swedish house DJ Avicii dead at 28
David Copperfield forced to reveal magic trick secret in lawsuit
Armstrong agrees to pay $5 million to settle cheating lawsuit
Parkland survivors rally in Colo. on eve of Columbine massacre
Arsene Wenger to step down as Arsenal manager at end of season
Pyongyang calling: North and South Korean leaders get hotline as stage set for summit
Bomb found in Berlin - city centre evacuated
Natalie Portman snubs 'Jewish Nobel' in apparent protest against Israel
Comey Memos Provide Intimate Look Into Trump Presidency
China challenged Australian warships in South China Sea
Video of Iran 'morality police' wrestling with woman sparks outrage
PARIS UNDER SIEGE: Protestors CLASH with police amid fury over Macron's labour reforms
Russia, NATO military chiefs meet in Azerbaijan
NASA’s Tess spacecraft embarks on ‘Goldilocks’ planet search
'Late Show With Stephen Colbert' writer slammed for insensitive Barbara Bush tweet
Jennifer Lopez to Premiere Song at Billboard Latin Music Awards
Oklahoma Wildfires Leave At Least 2 Dead, 20 Injured
Trump: ‘Human Trafficking Is Worse Than It’s Ever Been In The History Of World’
North Korea wants total denuclearisation, says Seoul
Facebook moves 1.5bn users out of reach of new European privacy law
Amazon Prime Hits 100M Subscribers
Haley's retort shows why she's unique in Trump's White House
Government in chaos over Windrush after double setback for May
Vladimir Putin’s salary REVEALED: Does Russia’s STRONGMAN earn as much as you think?
Devastating Indonesia EARTHQUAKE kills 3 and damages HUNDREDS of homes
Royal wedding: Meghan Markle set for 'FASHION WAR' with Kate after Prince Harry marriage
Trump Says He'll Abandon Kim Talks If They're Not 'Fruitful'
Qualcomm Cuts Jobs to Boost Profit
Karen McDougal Released From Contract Restricting Her From Talking Trump Affair
Colbert Thinks He Has Proof That Trump Watches His Show
Beaten, tortured, sexually abused: An American ISIS widow looks for a way home
Tesla is being investigated for workplace safety
British girl wins gold medal in international maths competition
Barbara Bush's funeral will be attended by Melania Trump, Clintons, others
Beyoncé reminds us we are all divas, soldiers and survivors
Former British PM David Cameron says he doesn't regret the Brexit referendum
Nikki Haley hits back at White House claims she is 'confused' over Russia sanctions
Turkey to hold snap elections on 24 June, says Erdoğan
UN chemical weapons investigators 'SHOT AT in Syria' – probe delayed AGAIN
COUNTDOWN BEGINS! Meghan and Harry shine at Commonwealth event four weeks ahead of wedding
Musk's Leaked Email Raises More Questions About Tesla Than It Answers
Saudi Arabia ending a 35-year ban on movie theaters with 'Black Panther' screening
Trump calls Stormy Daniels suspect sketch 'a total con job'
Saudi Arabia willing to send ARMY to Iranian-backed Syria as tensions ESCALATE
US and Russian nuclear arsenals set to be unchecked for first time since 1972
Police 'too slow to change' after Stephen Lawrence murder
Taylor Swift stalker suspect wore mask, had knife and rope, police say
Google Launches Chrome 66 For Windows, Mac, Linux, Android And iOS
Stephen Colbert, James Comey Talk About What It's Like 'Working for a Mob Boss'
Hannity's rising role in Trump's world: 'He basically has a desk in the place'
Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Pyongyang 'soon,' official says
CIA Director Mike Pompeo secretly met with North Korea's Kim Jong Un
Barbara Bush, former US first lady, dies at 92
Russia blocks millions of IP addresses in battle against Telegram app
Could North Korea and South Korea finally end their war? Reports say yes
Israeli army reveals images allegedly showing Iran's involvement in Syria
Microsoft, Facebook and 32 other tech firms join CyberSecurity Tech Accord
President Trump meets with Japan's prime minister
Stormy Daniels releases sketch of man who allegedly threatened her over Trump affair
Southwest flight makes emergency landing after losing an engine
Macron: political divisions in Europe are like a civil war
Theresa May apologises for treatment of Windrush citizens
Nerve agent used to attack Sergei Skripal was liquid, says Defra
Canada withdraws diplomats' families from Cuba over mystery illness
Scientists accidentally create mutant enzyme that eats plastic bottles
Emmanuel Macron SLAPPED DOWN by Donald Trump over claims he changed US policy in Syria
Syrian state media report new missile attack in Homs region
Facebook is probably tracking you whether you use it or not — and it doesn't really give you a choice
US Cuts Off China's ZTE From American Tech for Seven Years
Late-Night Hosts Slam Sean Hannity for Sharing Trump Lawyer
First US winner of Boston Marathon since '85
United States said Russia may have tampered with evidence at the Douma site
Khloe Kardashian reveals baby name: True Thompson
Amber Rudd pledges action to resolve status of Windrush citizens
Boston Marathon drenched as heavy storm causes flash floods in New York
Michael Cohen's mystery third client is Sean Hannity
Ant McPartlin fined £86,000 for drink-driving
Kellyanne Conway: Comey ‘Loved Being Alone In The Oval Office’
Syria bombing protest erupts into RIOT as activists try to topple US President statue
Syria chemical attack: Russia and Syria BLOCK inspectors from Douma
South Carolina prison fight leaves seven inmates dead, at least 17 injured
Justin Bieber reportedly punched man who assaulted woman at Coachella party
Facebook ad feature claims to predict user's future behaviour
Special BAFTA Craft Award for 'Game of Thrones'
John Cena and Nikki Bella end engagement
Bank of America hauls in biggest profit ever
Catalan protesters call for return of jailed or exiled leaders
Comey says in ABC interview that Trump is ‘morally unfit to be president’
Pakistan watchdog says country failing on human rights
Future of Iran deal may depend on European intervention
In Syria, Trump needs a strategy to keep Russia, Assad and Iran off-balance - and US involvement to a minimum
ACM Awards: Carrie Underwood Returns to Stage in First Performance Since Accident
Xi Jinping sends warning to Taiwan, United States with live fire drills
Phenomenal growth of Netflix
Former first lady Barbara Bush in failing health
BREAKING: Two planes COLLIDE in midair in Germany - fatalities confirmed
Man City wins Premier League after United loses to West Brom
Nikki Haley says more sanctions against Russia coming Monday
Zakaria: On Syria, Trump looks a lot like Obama
Syria attack: British submarine 'hunted by Russian subs' in deadly cat and mouse game
Kim Jong Un meets high-ranking Chinese diplomat in Pyongyang
SpaceX Big Falcon Rocket, Humanity's First Spaceship
Golden Arch Awards: Oscar-Nominated 'Loveless' Wins Best Movie
Trump defends 'mission accomplished' tweet
Trump attacks Comey for handling of Clinton email probe
Scandal in Sweden: Nobel prize for literature faces #MeToo moment
UN Security Council rejects Russia’s call to condemn U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria
Starbucks apologizes after two Black men in Philadelphia were arrested after waiting at a table
How Facebook ads target you
Beyoncé makes history with a live performance at Coachella
Satellite images show craters at alleged Syrian chemical weapons facilities
March for Science 2018: Passionate advocates push the cause for research across the globe
‘We are not scared of America’s missiles’ — Syrians gather in defiance after U.S.-led strikes
Cardi B Trolls Trump During 'Tonight Show' Co-Host Stint
Facebook has spent $20 million on Mark Zuckerberg's security since 2015
Haley says US 'locked and loaded,' prepared to maintain pressure on Syria
Russia claims Syria SHOT DOWN more than two thirds of US and British missiles last night
Russia condemns US-led strikes on Syria as 'act of aggression against a sovereign state'
British jets in 'successful' strike on chemical weapons base in Syria as Theresa May denies aim is 'regime change'
Russian officials warn of 'consequences' after US-led airstrikes on Syria
Toy mogul Isaac Larian ditches GoFundMe campaign and bids $890 million for Toys R Us stores
Joshua Jackson Says He Owes His Career to Jon Stewart
Trump Bombs Syria Hours After 88 Lawmakers Urged Him To First Consult Congress
US, UK and France strike Syria
Andrew McCabe lied, was source of WSJ leak, DOJ says
Trump prepares for Syria WAR: US Navy warships head to the Med in HUGE show of force
Google's 'Semantic Experiences' let you play word games with its AI
Telegram hit with block in Russia over encryption
Comey Thought Hiding Clinton Email News Would Make Her Presidency ‘Illegitimate’
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle choose Alexi Lubomirski as wedding photographer
Champions League draw was ‘FIXED’: Two huge clues that have convinced fans of foul play
The Latest: Israeli troops fire at Gaza protests; 9 wounded
Russian Court Bans Telegram App After 18-Minute Hearing
Russia ridicules Trump's Twitter diplomacy in Syria standoff
Syria crisis: US concerned military strike would 'escalate out of control'
James Comey book: 6 new things to know about his highly anticipated memoir
Official: Taliban attack killed 10 police in western Herat
Khloe Kardashian Has Custody Of Baby With Tristan Thompson After Cheating Drama: Lawyer Says
Xi Jinping's China shows off force in South China Sea
Model Janice Dickinson tells jury Bill Cosby raped her in 1982 after giving her a pill
Martin Short Roasts Stephen Colbert: 'Paul Ryan Without the Gym Membership'
UK, France back Trump as May says 'highly likely' Syrian regime used chemical weapons
Mohammad Salah: 'There's something very special about playing for Liverpool'
Trump's Secretary of State pick Mike Pompeo faces hearing amid Syria crisis, other threats
BREAKING: One step closer to war: Macron 'has proof' Assad used chemical weapons
Russia declares secret war phone line between Moscow and USA is ACTIVE
Trump attempts to cloud timing of potential Syria strike
Red Sox-Yankees brawl: Benches clear after Joe Kelly hits Tyler Austin
Theresa May indicates willingness for military action against Syria
BREAKING: Assad takes control of 'rebel stronghold' Douma – site of alleged 'GAS ATTACK'
Exclusive: Tesla targets November 2019 for start of Model Y production - sources
Daughter of poisoned ex-spy in U.K. turns down help from Russian Embassy
More than 80 dead from drinking bootleg alcohol in Indonesia
Zuckerberg admits Facebook collects data from non-users
US-Russia tensions build as Moscow hits back at Trump's Twitter threat
NYT: Records related to 'Access Hollywood' tape a focus of FBI Cohen raid
Real Madrid 1-3 Juventus: Gianluigi Buffon sent off; Cristiano Ronaldo nets winner
Trump Supporters Diamond and Silk: Facebook Censoring Our Content
Comedy Store owner Mitzi Shore dead at 87
Greece opens fire on Turkey as military helicopter buzzes island
House Speaker Paul Ryan says he is not running for re-election
This is how Facebook uses your data for ad targeting
Mariah Carey reveals bipolar disorder
Military plane crashes in Algeria killing 257 people
Trump taunts Russia, says US military response coming in Syria
Kardashians 'Rallying Around' Khloe Amid Tristan Thompson Cheating Allegations (Exclusive)
Merkel tells Putin not to exclude Ukraine from gas pipeline route
Syria chemical attack: US and Russia fail to reach UN agreement as tensions rise
'SHOTS fired' inside Los Angeles mall – Police SHOOTOUT with suspect
How Stormy Daniels and her brash lawyer cornered President Trump and Michael Cohen
Cruz challenges Zuckerberg about silencing conservatives
Zuckerberg confirms Facebook is working with US special counsel
Mark Zuckerberg apologises to U.S. Congress over massive Facebook breach
US, France and Britain agree to respond to Syrian gas attack
Man City 1 Liverpool 2: Salah and Firmino fire Reds through to Champions League semi-final
Roma 3 Barcelona 0: Lionel Messi and co. OUT in Champions League quarter-finals
Marie Colvin, reporter killed in Syria, was targeted by army, lawsuit alleges
Russia blocks US Syria resolution at the UN
Close