Next week marks the 42nd anniversary of Earth Day, a day in which over 175 countries in the world reflect and hold events that hope to increase awareness about the worlds dwindling natural resources. April 22nd, 1970marked the first earth day celebration.
The idea came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Nelson saw the powerful effects the student anti-war movement made surrounded the Vietnam war in the 1970’s, and came to the conclusion that if he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. On that day millions of Americans came together from groups that were fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife. Suddenly realized they shared common values and for at least one day, they could share a voice and really make a difference in the politics.
Earth day brings together republicans, democrats, poor, rich, gay, straight in order to pull for one issue; our earth.The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. Growing out of the first Earth Day, Earth Day Network (EDN) works with over 22,000 partners in 192 countries to broaden, diversify and mobilize the environmental movement. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world. Each year, EDN provides new campaigns and events for people around the world to participate in on April 22nd. They also provide the public with information in order to increase awareness about the natural resources that are affected and how we are harming (or helping) the environment.
I took a footprint calculator test on the Earth Day Network’s website. I highly encourage you to take this interactive (and child friendly) quiz. I learned that if everyone lived like me, we would need 5.3 planet earths to provide enough resources and to support me it takes 23.5 acres of land.
It then gave me the following things I could personally do in order to reduce my carbon footprint:
- Eating less animal-based food products
- Using more locally grown food products or products that use recycled materials
- Don’t take my yearly vacation via airplane
The campaign for Earth Day 2012 is “Mobilize the Earth” The theme surrounds the notion that ” the earth won’t wait.” The world is facing a global recession and often environmental issues are put on the back burner. Earth Day provides a chance for people of different nationalities, countries, and backgrounds to unite in order to provide a sustainable future. One voice and one message will come from April 22nd 2012, the world cannot wait, so we need to mobilize in order to make a difference. Earth Day on the National Mall in Washington DC will be the centerpiece of Earth Day in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of environmentally conscious people from all walks of life and all parts of the country will be joined by civic leaders and celebrities for this special event to galvanize the environmental movement.