Why do we celebrate Earth Day? The observance was started with the idea of celebrating a day to honor the Earth, but also the concept of peace. Earth Day observed annually on April 22 is a great opportunity to give public consciousness about the state of our planet.
What is the theme for Earth Day? Even though Earth Day is always focused on protecting our planet, every year there is a different theme concerning a particular area of focus. For example, in 2018 the theme of Earth Day was: “End Plastic Pollution”, and in 2019 the theme was focused on protecting endangered species. In 2020, during the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the theme was: “Climate Action”. Since the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way of celebrating the day, Earth Day 2020 went digital. Many events were held online around the world, and there was a special 12-hour Live Streaming Music and Speaker event online. The theme of Earth Day in 2021 is: “Restore our Earth” and it shows that the health of our planet is not an option, but a necessity.
How did Earth Day start? Even though the whole movement started in 1970, its lifeblood started spreading years earlier. Before first Earth Day Americans used to consume tremendous amount of leaded gas which caused major air pollution. Nobody really cared about the consequences, until 1969, when over 3 million gallons of oil spoiled in Santa Barbara, California. Thousands of sea creatures had been killed that day, which stimulated activists to take action in order to protect the environment. One of them was Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin, who had seen the huge oil spill from an airplane. Only one year later the Environmental Rights Day conference was held, which is said to be the baptism for the movement. The same year, in 1970, first Earth Day was observed in thousands of universities, colleges, primary schools, secondary schools and other communities. Americans started demonstrating peacefully on the streets, in parks and auditoriums in favor of environmental reform. Groups of people that used to fight against pollution individually could finally unite sharing common values and goals. It was not a futile effort – by the end of the year the United States Environmental Protection Agency was created. All of these events started an environmental revolution that has lost none of its intensity over the years.
How does Earth Day help the environment? The initiative is focused on driving meaningful action to our planet and its inhabitants. It also tries to impact different areas of life on Earth, such as: Climate Action, Science and Education, People and Communities, Conservation and Restoration, Plastic and Pollution. In each of these issues Earth Day underlines particular problems that we all have to deal with. The effect? Many successes over the years, such as for example: planting hundreds of millions of trees in 32 countries, launching the Great Global Cleanup or organizing the largest free speech environmental events in the history of the world. There is no doubt that Earth Day brings real help for the environment.
What can I do for Earth Day? As the official website of Earth Day states: “change starts with action”. If you want to help in protecting our planet and the environment, you can take action for example by joining the annual global cleanup – but it would be best if you did that regularly, not only once a year. April 22, however, is a great opportunity to start and encourage others to do the same. You can also become an Earth Day Member, which is one of the most meaningful and direct ways of supporting the initiative. Schools are also encouraged to join the observance every year! They can become organizers of one of thousands of events held on each Earth Day and even register it on the official Earth Day website. This is a great way of teaching the pupils the great importance of taking care of planet Earth.
Did you know?
An interesting fact is also that one more Earth Day was first observed on March 21, 1970. Its date is connected with the spring equinox, which is why the day is often called Equinox Earth Day. It honors very similar values as the 22 April’s Earth Day – our planet and the concept of peace. It was proposed by a peace activist, John McConnell. Today it is annually arranged by the Earth Society Foundation.
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