DEFINITION OF ENVIRONMENT
The environment is something you are very familiar with. It's everything that makes up our surroundings and affects our ability to live on the earth—the air we breathe the water that covers most of the earth's surface, the plants and animals around us, and much more. In recent years, scientists have been carefully examining the ways that people affect the environment. They have found that we are causing air pollution, deforestation, acid rain, and other problems that are dangerous both to the earth and to ourselves. These days, when you hear people talk about “the environment”, they are often referring to the overall condition of our planet, or how healthy it is. Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970, a result of the efforts of Sen. Gaylord Nelson (D-Wis.), a passionate advocate of protecting the environment and increasing awareness of environmental issues. While social activism was at peak levels in the late 1960s and early '70s, legislation on environmental issues was nearly nonexistent. Nelson struggled since he was elected to the Senate in 1962 to persuade Congress to establish an environmental agenda. Frustrated by the obstacles and resistance he faced, he appealed to the mood of the public and designated April 22 as a "national day for the environment." He hoped to impress upon fellow politicians that humans have an enormous impact on the environment. Nelson certainly achieved his goal. More than 20 million Americans participated in the first Earth Day celebration, prompting voter-hungry politicians to take notice. The overwhelming response helped generate a new political focus on the environment. As that focus has become increasingly global, more people than ever are celebrating Earth Day around the world. In the past several years as countries all over the world have been mired in recession and affected by turmoil in the Middle East, Earth Day has taken on increased significance. Indeed, skyrocketing food, gas, and oil prices...
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