The first Earth Day celebrations in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Action News is bringing you 50 days of coverage leading up to the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in April.

On April 22, 1970, Earth Day became an official United States holiday.

Philadelphia hosted an entire week of Earth Day celebrations in 1970, drawing more than 20,000 people to Fairmount Park and nearly 7,000 more to Independence Mall.

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The concept of Earth Week is said to have originated here in Philadelphia, created by students and professionals from the University of Pennsylvania and other neighboring universities.

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Former U.S. Senator Edmund Muskie, author of the historic Clean Air Act of 1970, agreed to be the keynote speaker on Earth Day in Fairmount Park in Philadelphia. Other notable speakers that week included poet Allen Ginsberg and political activist Ralph Nader.

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