This and every April 22, many of us will recognize Earth Day without really understanding the reason. There are lots of wonderful things to celebrate about the Earth: the fact that it gives life to us and every creature familiar to us, for starters. But why exactly celebrate Earth Day?
Prior to 1970, factories could dispense large, black clouds of toxic gasses into the air and dump toxic waste into nearby streams, lakes and oceans. At the time, that was perfectly legal. These were the days before the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and the EPA. In the spring of 1970, Senator Gaylord Nelson created Earth Day as a way to force the issues onto the national agenda and advocate for ecology and respect for life on the planet as well as to encourage awareness of the growing problems.
Five Fun Facts about Earth Day
- On April 22, 1970, 20 million people participated in the first ever Earth Day.
- The date of Earth Day was specifically selected to mobilize college students for help in gaining traction with the occasion’s observance because at most colleges, the date falls between Spring Break and Final Exams and students have the time available to take action.
- More than one billion people from all over the world get involved with Earth Day projects making it the largest civic observance in the world.
- Earth Day has its own flag that features a photo of the Earth taken from the Apollo 17 on its way to the Moon.
- On Earth Day in 2009, Disney released a documentary film called Earth that followed the migration paths of four animal families.
Simple ways to be more environmentally friendly
Activities associated with Earth Day often include planting trees, raising awareness about recycling, volunteering for green projects and reducing the amount of energy we consume.
- Walk to work, ride a bike or take public transportation
- Go paperless
- Take a tote bag with you shopping
- Plant a tree
- Carry a reusable water bottle
- Buy local produce
- Go meat or dairy free once a week
How will you celebrate Earth Day? What does it mean to you? We’d love to hear from you!
Check out the Earth Day website for more information. https://www.earthday.org/about/