The late Sen. Gaylord Nelson (D) of Wisconsin organized the first Earth Day in 1970 after the devastating oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara, Calif. The event started as an environmental teach-in, with some 20 million Americans taking part on college campuses across the United States. Today, 500 million people in 175 countries observe Earth Day on April 22 as a way to celebrate the natural world and raise awareness of the environment. How much do humans affect the earth? Click below to find out.
Charles Ramsey answered a call for distress and discovered a house of horrors. Victor Perez stopped the abduction of an 8-year-old girl. Two teenage boys rescued a couple from a burning car wreck in Florida. New Yorker Kashmir Singh goes the extra mile to help a Swiss couple. Here are 11 stories of everyday American heroes who responded to trying circumstances with extraordinary grace and courage.