Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Jean. Jean Wonders, “How can I make the world a better place” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Jean!

If it's April 22 when you're reading this, then we'd like to wish you a very happy Earth Day! Each year on April 22, people all over the world participate in a wide variety of ways, both big and small, to make Earth a better place to call home.

Earth Day was the brainchild of Gaylord Nelson, a United States Senator from Wisconsin. After seeing the environmental destruction caused by the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, Nelson wanted to find a way to raise public consciousness of the need for greater environmental protections.

Inspired by the anti-war movement activities of college students around the nation, Nelson proposed a "national teach-in on the environment." He enlisted support from a wide variety of demographics: Republicans and Democrats, urban leaders and farmers, and business owners and labor unions.

The result was the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970. On that day, over 20 million Americans took part in a wide variety of rallies, meetings, demonstrations, and activities all targeted at highlighting the need for protecting Earth and our environment for future generations.

Thousands of colleges and universities also participated. Members of a wide variety of different groups dedicated to different environmental causes learned they shared common values.

Earth Day was a tremendous success. It led eventually to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, as well as the passage of environmental legislation, including the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.

Earth Day has now become a global phenomenon. In 1990, for example, over 200 million people in 141 countries mobilized to bring environmental issues, especially recycling, to the forefront of global consciousness. Today, Earth Day campaigns continue to publicize important environmental issues, such as global warming, clean energy, and recycling.

If you're WONDERing what you can do to make Earth a better place, participating in Earth Day activities is a great place to start. By attending a rally, meeting, or demonstration, you can learn about the environmental problems facing our planet.

To really make a difference, though, you need to turn the knowledge you gain into action. Volunteering for an environmental group or helping to organize an Earth Day event to educate others is one way to make a difference. More importantly, however, you can make changes in your daily life that have a beneficial impact on the environment. Here are a few suggestions for simple things you can do to make Earth a better place:

  • Conserve energy and natural resources! Turn off the lights when you leave a room. Take shorter showers. Turn down the thermostat in winter and turn it up during the summer. Replace incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescent or LED light bulbs.

  • Plant a tree! Earth Day is followed just five days later by Arbor Day on April 27. Trees produce oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from the air. Take the time to plant some trees that will benefit you and future generations for many years to come.

  • Reduce, reuse, and recycle! We only have one Earth and it has to last us forever. The amount of trash humans produce increases each year. Do your part by reducing the amount of stuff you buy, reusing the stuff you already have, and recycling paper, metal, and plastic as much as possible.

Wonder What's Next?

Tomorrow in Wonderopolis we’ll get to know the history of the alphabet from beginning to end, A to Z!