Watch Walter Cronkite Report on the First Earth Day in 1970
A Wisconsin senator named Gaylord Nelson came up with the idea for a “national teach-in on the environment” after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Hoping to mobilize the politically active student community, he chose April 22nd, which falls between Spring Break and final exams, as the official date.
On that day in 1970, the first Earth Day celebrations took place in two thousand colleges and universities, roughly ten thousand primary and secondary schools, and hundreds of communities across the United States. It now is observed in 192 countries.
Here’s the original broadcast of CBS News Special Report with Walter Cronkite about the first Earth Day, 1970.