What is Earth Day? When did it start? How can you get involved?
Earth Day is held every year on the 22nd of April. The main aim of this event is to highlight the need for action in regards to the climate emergency. It is an opportunity to demonstrate support and commitment to environmental protection.
Earth Day was established in the USA in 1970 as part of the response to a catastrophic oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. It was originally intended to be a ‘teach-in’ event on college campuses led by Senator Gaylord Nelson. He aimed to educate the general population about the environmental issues the USA were facing. However, the first Earth Day saw groups who had been protesting about separate, yet related, issues come together to join forces and highlight the issues as a whole. This took the form of 20 million Americans taking to the streets to protest and demonstrate their frustration. The protests attracted a wide array of citizens from across the spectrum of American society with people from urban areas alongside those from rural areas, Democrats alongside Republicans and people from a range of economic backgrounds. By the end of the year, Earth Day had helped to facilitate the creation of the US Environmental Protection Agency as well as laws such as the Clean Air Act.
Twenty years later, Earth Day went global. In 1990, more than 200 million people from 141 countries took part in that year’s events. The focus for that year was recycling and it paved the way for the 1992 UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
From that point on the event has only continued to grow and grow. The main themes across the years have been; climate action; science and education; people and communities; conservation and restoration and plastic and pollution.
This year’s theme is ‘Invest in Our Planet’. We are being encouraged to act, innovate and implement in order to ensure that the planet has a green, prosperous future.
How can I get involved?
If you want to get involved, consider donating to the cause by visiting https://donate.earthday.org/, where you can set up a one-time payment or a monthly payment at a value of your choice.
Or take a look at the five petitions on Earth Day’s website. From fast fashion to single use plastic, there are a variety of issues to get involved with: https://www.earthday.org/take-action-now/
You could take a moment to consider the ways in which you can change your behaviour to help mitigate the effects of climate change. From simple actions such as minimising the amount of single use plastic that you use to bigger changes like considering where your pension is invested. Any action, however small, helps towards the greater cause.
Take a look at Earth Day’s website to learn more: https://www.earthday.org/
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