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Watch now: Earth Day, 50 years later

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(WKOW) -- 50 years ago, Wisconsin Sen. Gaylord Nelson planted a seed that would grow into a nationwide movement.  

A simple idea that brought about a world of change.

In this special 50th anniversary special broadcast, we'll look back on the past five decades of the environmental movement and what's in store for our future generation.

It's estimated 20 million Americans came together in cities across the U.S. on April 22, 1970 for the first-ever Earth Day, calling for lawmakers to take action to protect the planet. It was the start of a new era of legislation to keep our environment healthy.

Earth Day started as a teach-in, but over the years it's become a day of people doing their part: cleaning up, planting trees and teaching kids about their communities.

But the political fight has continued in recent years, as groups march to the state and U.S. Capitols for climate change policy.

50 years later, people are now meeting up online for virtual Earth Day celebrations, as the coronavirus pandemic cancels all group gatherings.

Originally airing on WKOW TV in Madison on April 22, 2020, the program takes a look at how Earth Day began 50 years ago: Wisconsin's "conservation governor" who got the idea off the ground; the political battles; UW-Madison's impact on the environment; and the young people pushing the movement forward five decades later.

Jennifer Kliese

Weekend Anchor and Reporter, 27 News

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