What is it and how can you get involved?
Earth Day was established in the USA in 1970 as part of the response to a catastrophic oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Created by Senator Gaylord Nelson, it was originally intended to be a teach-in on college campuses to educate the general population about the environmental issues that the USA was facing. However, the first Earth Day saw 20 million Americans take to the streets to demonstrate and protest against the impact of decades of industrialisation on the environment. Groups who had been protesting about separate, yet related, issues came together to join forces and highlight the issues as a whole. These protests attracted a vast array of American society with citizens from cities and rural areas, people from a range of economic backgrounds as well as a mixture of both Democrats and Republicans. By the end of 1970, Earth Day had helped to facilitate the creation of the US Environmental Protection Agency and various laws such as the Clean Air Act.
In 1990, Earth Day went global with more than 200 million people across 141 countries taking part in that year’s events. Earth Day 1990 helped to bring people’s attention to the need for recycling and paved the way for the 1992 UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
From that point on the Earth Day movement has continued to grow with the main areas of focus being; climate action, science and education, people and communities, conservation and restoration and plastic and pollution. This year’s events focus on how we can rebuild as we emerge from the global pandemic with the motto; ‘As the world returns to normal, we can’t go back to business-as-usual’.
So how can you take part?
You could donate to the cause by visiting https://www.earthday.org/donate/, where you can set up a one-time payment or a monthly payment at a value of your choice.
You could take part in a variety of talks, workshops and events held by organisations such as the University of Stirling or East Renfrewshire Council as well as others across the globe. Find an event here: https://www.earthday.org/take-action-now/.
Or you could take a moment to consider the ways in which you can change your behaviour to help mitigate the effects of climate change on the environment. From simple actions such as minimising the amount of single use plastic you consume or trying to shop local. Any action, however small, helps towards the greater cause.
Take a look at Earth Day’s website (https://www.earthday.org/) to learn more or feel free to message us here at Ethical Futures if you have any questions or want to ask for our advice.