Students paddling rafts on Milwaukee River

Remember When Earth Day Used to Be Cool?

Today, the holiday is just a chance for ExxonMobil to release nonsensical ad campaigns. But once upon a time, it was a radical success story.

How an Oil Spill 50 Years Ago Inspired the First Earth Day

Before Earth Day made a name for the environmental movement, a massive oil spill put a spotlight on the dangers of pollution.

Organizing for Change: The Genius of the First Earth Day

What we can learn from the successes of local activists in 1970.

Informed Archives: The Environmental Action Coalition and the Birth of Earth Day

January 2017's Women's March wasn't the first time Fifth Avenue in New York City hosted an enormous demonstration.
Photograph of two of the original organizers preparing for the first Earth Day (1970). At left, a woman holds up two advertisements for the event. In front, a man stares into the camera (Denis Hayes) while holding a phone.

The Fate of Earth Day

What has gone wrong with the modern environmental movement and its political organizing.
Greenpeace demonstrators opposing drilling.

Liberal Activists Have to Think Broadly and Unite Across Lines

The forgotten environmental action that pointed the path forward for the left.
A surfer carries his oil-coated board.

‘The Ocean Is Boiling’: The Complete Oral History of the 1969 Santa Barbara Oil Spill

How the disaster energized the nascent environmental movement and led to a slew of legislative changes.
San Diego Postcard.

San Diego—A Green(Er) City: Six Decades Of Environmental Activism In A Biodiversity Hotspot

San Diego's city-wide mission to promote sustainability, combat climate change, and reduce environmental health disparities.
Nixon outdoors making his famous double-v hand gesture.

Nixon Was the Weirdest Environmentalist

Richard Nixon helped establish Earth Day and poured millions of dollars into conservation, despite his own ambivalence about the environmental movement.
Old-time black and white pictures of Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir with a modern city background

How American Environmentalism Failed

Traditional environmentalism has lacked a meaningful, practical democratic vision, rendering it largely marginal to the day-to-day lives of most Americans.
Young Lords Party march to the UN.

The Young Lords' Radical Fight for Environmental Justice

Johanna Fernández's new book on the Young Lords sheds light on the group's fight for clean streets and public health in 1960s New York City.
Image of the front cover of "The Republican Reversal: Conservatives and the Environment from Nixon to Trump."

Conservatives Before and After Earth Day

As Republicans denounce climate change as a “hoax” and dismantle the environmental regulatory state they worked to build, we are left to wonder: What happened?

Three Eras of Environmental Concern

In the late 19th and early 20th century, talk about “the environment” had little of its later coherence or political meaning.