Why do we celebrate Earth Day?
The subject of climate change and the environment is one of the largest and most important issues in the world today. It has gained much more attention in recent years, and while progress has been made, there is still a long way to go. Earth Day is held for this very purpose. So, what is Earth Day? It’s the 22nd of April, a day in which millions gather globally to support the environment, raise awareness of its issues, and lobby governments to take further action. Let’s take a further look at its history, events we can participate in, and other habits we can implement to make a change.
A brief history of Earth Day:
So, what is Earth Day and how did it start? Earth Day originally began in the US as a response to the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. In fact, before 1970, it was perfectly legal for factories in the US to release toxic materials out into the environment. This is because there was no legislation preventing this - until the Spring of 1970 when Senator Gaylord Nelson began Earth Day to push this issue onto the national agenda. As far as 10 million people (10% of the population at the time) came out in support on Earth Day. And amazingly, as soon as the same year, the US Environmental Protection Agency was created to deal with environmental issues. Earth Day later on became an international event during the 90s, and today activities and demonstrations can go on for as long as a month.
Events happening this year:
There are a multitude of events happening worldwide, here are some which may interest you:
- An online panel discussion by Imperial College on ‘special reflections from the frontlines of international climate change’ – 22nd of April, 12:00pm
- Online screening of award-winning documentary ‘Once you know’ – 8th of April, midnight
- The Anthropologist: An Exhibition by Matthew Needham – varied timings
- Online program: MENTOR EARTH. When geoscience + philosophy collide – 22nd of April, midnight
Along with these events are broader initiatives to get involved in, such as The Great Global Cleanup – a campaign to remove billions of pieces of rubbish from rivers, lakes, beaches, neighbourhoods, etc. This program aims to clean up our environment and move towards a cleaner, greener and brighter planet.
Other ways to get involved and make a difference:
If this year you find yourself with little time to get involved but still want to make a difference, there are many other ways to make an impact:
- Join a local campaign group
- Research ways to conserve and save energy
- Write to your politicians
- Donate to environmental charities
And so, for the final time, what is Earth Day? Earth Day is a great opportunity for us all to reflect and give attention to a pressing issue such as climate change and the environment. Much more awareness and activity are needed around this area in general, and so it’s important to get involved and do our best to make these much-needed changes in the world. Let’s make this Earth Day a great one!
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