Around the world, people are celebrating Earth Week starting today. Tomorrow, the official Earth Day kicks off, and this year, families are being challenged to make a commitment to conserve energy.

This year’s efforts focus on encouraging families to reduce their energy use by 20% by using an energy saving online program. Currently, American families spend $500 billion each year on home energy use and gas for their cars. That accounts for half of the energy use in the country.

That high amount of energy consumption not only affects family budgets, it takes a major toll on the environment. But the good news during Earth Week is that just by making a few simple changes, families can reduce their energy consumption by that 20%.

Earth Day began on April 22, 1970, when 20 million Americans demonstrated in streets, parks and auditoriums around the country for a healthier planet. Thousands of schools around the U.S. rallied to protest how the environment was being abused with oil spills, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides and loss of wilderness.

In 1969, peace activist John McConnnell proposed a day to celebrate the earth, on the first day of spring in 1970. Also in 1969, Garylord Nelson, who was a senator from the state of Wisconsin, spearheaded the efforts to help conserve the environment after an oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, caused catastrophic damage to the coast.

While the original event focused more on efforts in the United States, by 1990, more than 200 million people in 141 countries were involved. The 20th anniversary helped inspire people to recycle products instead of continuing to dump them in landfills.

Since 1990, hundreds of millions more people are involved all around the world, with each country, state and city organizing specials events and projects to help protect the environment.

To get involved with Earth Day efforts, learn more at Earth Day Network.


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