The first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970, inspired 20 million people to participate in environmental teach-ins across the United States. The event realized the goal that its founder, U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, had set for it: to put the environment firmly on the national agenda. And it has become a world-wide phenomenon, observed in almost every country. What have we learned since 1970, and what should be our paths to environmental change in the 21st century? How can we harness new ideas, technologies, social networks and other tools to create a sustainable future?

Earth Day at 40: Valuing Wisconsin's Environmental Traditions, Past, Present and Future will revisit the popular movement that launched an era of environmental reform, survey a broad range of current environmental issues, and envision a more sustainable future.

To view the conference agenda, please view our Program page.


This event will also form part of the celebration of the 40th anniversary of UW-Madison's Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies.

Learn more about Gaylord Nelson and Earth Day on a new website.