RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Every year, April 22 rolls around and many people focus attention on the world around us.

Global warming and the polar ice caps melting at an unprecedented rate have caused scientists to predict doom and gloom barring drastic changes from humans across the world.

While scientists say taking care of the Earth should be a priority year-round, the Earth Day holiday helps serve as a consistent reminder of environmental mindfulness — for at least one day a year.

The day marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental moment in 1970 after decades of people consuming vast amounts of leaded gas through automobiles. Rapid-growing, booming industries spewed smoke and sludge without regard for earthly consequences.

The oblivious nature of the modernizing America lead to the rapid decline of an over-polluted environment.

The holiday originated from the work of Wisconsin Sen. Gaylord Nelson. According to the Earth Day network, he had been concerned about the declination of America’s environment before the first Earth Day in 1970.

A major turning point came when a well owned by Union Oil had blown about six miles off the coast of Santa Barbara, California — an estimated 3 million gallons of crude oil were spilled into the water.

The oil reached the shoreline and turned Santa Barbara’s beaches black. The oil slick stretched 35 miles in total.

Several thousand birds and various sea life were killed as a result.

Oil-soaked material piles up along the seawall at the Santa Barbara Harbor days after an oil spill leaked approximately 3 million gallons of crude oil into the Pacific Ocean. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)

That spill caused Nelson to rally energy from Americans to spark activist momentum and knowledge, and truly care about the health of the environment.

Now, Earth Day is considered the largest secular holiday in the world, marked by more than 1 billion people every year across more than 190 countries.

For many climate activists, Earth Day 2022 is the next step to vocalizing change and courage to preserve and protect our health, the futures of our families and livelihoods.

Earth Day campaigns urge people to “act (boldly), innovate (broadly), and implement (equitably).” The EARTHDAY.ORG site states, “It’s going to take all of us. All in. Businesses, governments, and citizens — everyone accounted for, and everyone accountable. A partnership for the planet.”

You can find Earth Day events near you or register an event of your own to show your support.

To learn more about the history of Earth Day, visit this site.