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The Father of Earth Day (Denis Hayes)

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Did you ever wonder how Earth Day got started? Are you wondering how you can help kick off Earth Day with a special eco-challenge of your own? Want to find out what a living building is? Learn from Denis how he helped create one of the most popular secular holidays in the world.

Interview with Founder of Earth Day Denis Hayes

  • Find out how college educated women 25-35 yo were instrumental in making Earth Day a reality.
  • Why do some consider Earth Day as the beginning of the modern environmental movement? Why hasn’t its success been matched?
  • What is Earth Day planning this year?
  • Denis is pushing the envelope again with his Living Building project.  Learn more about it.

Denis Hayes – Founder of Earth Day, President of Bullitt Foundation

Denis Hayes is President & CEO of the Bullitt Foundation, a Seattle-based philanthropy dedicated to transforming the Pacific Northwest into a model of sustainable development. Denis currently chairs the board of trustees of the American Solar Energy Society, and he is the immediate past chair of the $100 million/year Energy Foundation. Under President Carter, Denis headed the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. From 1983 to 1988, he was a professor of energy engineering at Stanford University. He has been Director of the Illinois State Energy Office, Senior Fellow at the Worldwatch Institute, and Visiting Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. A graduate of Stanford University Law School, Denis also practiced law for several years in Silicon Valley. In 1970, Denis was National Coordinator of the first Earth Day—an event often credited with launching the modern American environmental movement. He is still the Honorary Chair of the board of directors of the Earth Day Network, which is now active in 170 nations Denis has received the highest awards given by the Sierra Club, the National Wildlife Federation, the Humane Society of the United States, the Natural Resources Council of America, the Alliance to Save Energy, the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility, the Commonwealth Club, the US Department of Energy, the American Solar Energy Society, and the Global Environment Facility of the World Bank. Time magazine selected Hayes as one of its “Heroes of the Planet;” Life magazine included him as one of “the Life 100 Most Important Americans of the 20th Century,” and the National Audubon Society included him in its list of the 100 Environmental Heroes of the Twentieth Century. He has been profiled as “Newsmaker of the Week” by ABC News and as “Today’s Person in the News” by the New York Times. He has appeared on Meet the Press, Face the Nation, and Today. For color: Denis played the part of a national environmental leader in the 2005 movie, “I Heart Huckabees,” and – 40 years ago – he was Cosmopolitan Magazine’s Bachelor of the Month. Between the ages of 19 and 22, he hitchhiked around the world for three years, visiting more than 100 countries, mostly in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

Earth Day Resources:

Check out the following websites and podcasts to get you on your path

  • Help recruit and join in making a commitment to the planet: Billion Acts of Green-
  • More on the Living Building:
  • Information on the Bullit Foundation:
  • Nice wiki on Denis: