6 things to know about Earth Day

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(WBAY) – For 50 years, people have been celebrating Earth Day by taking measures to protect and better the environment.

Earth Day was conceived in 1970 and called “the birth of the modern environmental movement,” according to the website EarthDay.org.

Here are some facts about Earth Day:

1. IT’S THE BRAINCHILD OF A WISCONSIN SENATOR

U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin is called the founder of Earth Day. He was inspired to take action after a 1969 oil spill in California.

EarthDay.org says Sen. Nelson saw the anti-war movement and political activism of that time, and believed he could harness some of that energy for the earth.

2. EARTH DAY IS A GLOBAL EVENT

Although it started in the United States, the idea has spread throughout the world. In 2009, the United Nations declared April 22 “International Mother Earth Day.”

3. 2016’s THEME IS “TREES FOR THE EARTH”

EarthDay.org says “an acre of mature trees absorbs the same amount of CO2 produced by driving the average car 26,000 miles.”

4. FOOD WASTE IS A GROWING ISSUE

While the Earth Day organization is focusing on trees, the Environmental Protection Agency’s theme is Food Waste. In 2013, the EPA says more than 37 million tons of food waste was generated. Food waste goes to landfills, where it produces methane gas.

5. WORLD LEADERS TO SIGN CLIMATE DEAL

More than 171 nations will gather to sign the Paris Agreement on Climate Change Friday. The nations have promised to work to limit global temperature rise to under 2 degrees Celsius. Related: 171 states signing landmark Paris deal on climate change

6. YOU CAN JOIN THE EFFORT

There are events all over to celebrate Earth Day. You’ll find a map and search tool here: http://www.earthday.org/earth-day/earth-day-theme/

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