For the past 50 years, Earth Day has been celebrated by billions of people around the globe, annually every April 22, to join together in promoting awareness for the health of our environment. Why should we continue to celebrate this holiday in 2020? Some people may view it as just another holiday, or an excuse to wear green and a flower crown, similar to St. Patrick’s Day, but with serious concerns about our changing environment being studied and addressed today by prominent scientists, politicians, and young climate change activists alike, some people are adapting to more environmentally friendly ways of living — every day, not just on April 22 every year. Cue the composting, recycling, repurposing, carpooling, thrifting, and metal straws to save the turtles.
Earth, due to human activity, is in trouble. The ozone layer’s depleting, ecosystems are being lost and people are starving for food and water. Additionally, endangered species are dying at a faster than average rate.
Earth Day, one of the first global initiatives to protect and help conserve the earth, has become a holiday that strives for change on a global scale. It aims at convincing people that their actions matter in preserving the planet.
History of Earth Day
As the world’s most massive environmental movement and one of the most popular holidays to be celebrated, the idea for Earth Day is rooted in history.
Founder Gaylord Nelson, a former U.S. Senator, thought of the idea after witnessing the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, he believed it was essential that energy was shifted to concerns about air and water pollution.
His efforts would help put the environmental protection on the political agenda and thus produce change. After continuous work, Nelson helped spread his message to national media and promoted events across the United States. In 1970, 20 million Americans listened and took the streets.
They formed demonstration rallies in support of this cause. Groups that have been previously rallying against environmental factors separately all realized they had shared values, and thus came together on this day.
The first Earth Day since then led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. It has also led to the passing of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. It wasn’t until 1990 that Earth Day spread globally, spreading the message across 200 million people in 141 countries.
The year 2020 will mark the 50 anniversary of Earth Day celebrated around the globe. As a day of action, this day aims to promote environment changes through policy and peaceful protest. Multiple venues host events that showcase the importance of caring for the environment.
They help by teaching people the consequences of their behaviors and how that affects the ecosystem they live in. People also choose on this day to make conscientious changes by recycling more, using less fuel and conserving water.
How to Celebrate Earth Day
Find a local event near you and celebrate Earth Day by learning about what your actions do to the environment. You can also learn why maintaining the earth’s ecosystems is vital to our survival. Sign up for Earth Day’s Educator Network to help organize an event near you, or donate money to their official website.
These funds help in pushing toward environmental policies. Spread the word about Earth Day through social media and let your friends and family know why protecting the earth is essential to you.
History of Earth Day
The idea for Earth Day was originally born in 1969, when a US Senator named Gaylord Nelson, witnessed the effects of a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, CA. He called to action all Americans to take a stand for the environment in 1970, and thousands of colleges and universities across the United States organized protests for a healthy, sustainable Earth. This included air pollution from factories and freeways, as well as the loss of habitats for animals and animal extinction. Because of these national rallies, the first Earth Day helped create the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species acts into law.
Today, we have similar concerns, and unfortunately they are even messier than that original oil spill. Increasing natural disasters, extreme weather, and rising global temperatures may seem impossible for one human, let alone millions or even billions of humans, to slow down, or stop. It has been reported that coral reefs are dying, we see pictures of animals on land and in the ocean with trash in their bellies or around their body, and corporate factories and large companies around the world continue to pollute our air and our living spaces. But a small action, like picking up litter on the sidewalk that may have otherwise ended up around the neck of an animal or in the ocean, still makes an impact — a step in the right direction, and an important change.