This crowd of about 20,000 gathered near Independence Hall in Philadelphia on April 21, 1970, the day before the first Earth Day, to listen to a performance by the cast of the Broadway musical Hair and hear speeches by Ralph Nader and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Hugh Scott.

Photo credit: Earth Week Committee of Philadelphia

Senator Gaylord Nelson (1916–2005), Democrat from Wisconsin, announced a day of environmental protest and awareness raising to be held on April 22, 1970. Earth Day is often referred to as the start of the modern environmental movement, though initially it was a purely American event. It is widely stated that 20 million people (a figure for which there is no reliable evidence) participated in a range of activities across the nation, and ...

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