Love to your mother: Earth Day facts and figures
On the 39th anniversary of the first Earth Day, take a look at how the celebration and the planet have changed.
Mon, Apr 06, 2009 at 01:54 PM
Illustration: Julia Hoffman
Earth Day was first celebrated on April 22, 1970, and has been growing strong ever since. Here's a look back at our Earth Day roots, with updates of the latest numbers.
20 million: Number of people who celebrated the first Earth Day
200 million: Number of people who celebrated Earth Day in 1990
500 million: Number of people who celebrated Earth Day in 2000
175: Number of countries worldwide that celebrate a designated Earth Day
3.7 billion: World population in 1970
6.7 billion: World population in 2009
65.2 million: Number of Google hits for "Earth Day"
146 million: Number of Google hits for "Green Day"
111.2 million: Number of vehicles on the road in the United States in 1970
238.3 million: Number of vehicles on the road in the United States in 2009
20: Number of cars needed to emit the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions as one pre-1970 model
57.2°: Average global temperature from 1970-1979 (in degrees Fahrenheit)
58.3°: Average global temperature from 2000-2008 (in degrees Fahrenheit)
220,000: Tons of U.S. lead emissions in 1970
4,000: Tons of U.S. lead emissions in 2008
75: Percent increase in greenhouse gas emissions from 1970 to 2004
100 million: Number of plastic bags thrown away annually in the United States
0: Number of plastic bags available at Whole Foods as of Earth Day 2008
150 million: Estimated number of plastic bags that have been kept out of landfills since Earth Day 2008
This article originally appeared in Plenty in April 2008.
See MNN's latest Earth Day stories: Earth Day on the Mother Nature Network