Honoring the Earth
Apr 10, 2019 08:06PM
Imagine a world without clean air and clean water, filled with burning garbage and thick smog; a world where sewage, deadly insecticides, and other toxic chemical are dumped into our waterways. Sadly, this was the scene all across America in the late 1960s a time when industrial pollution was almost entirely unregulated. It wasn’t until 1969, after witnessing the devastation caused by the Santa Barbara oil spill, that Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson decided to actually do something about it.
Seeking a way to promote public awareness about the disastrous effects of pollution, he created Earth Day a holiday designed to encourage environmental activism and education. The very first Earth Day was held as a teach-in on April 22, 1970. By the end of that year, the Environmental Protection Agency had been established, and Congress had passed the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts had been passed. (The Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973). In the years that followed, Nelson continued to promote Earth Day events around the country an impassioned environmental effort that, in 1995, earned him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Over the past few decades, Earth Day has become an inspiring instrument of change across the world. The event’s 20th anniversary in 1990 mobilized nearly 200 million people from 141 countries. Today, Earth Day is the largest secular civic event in the world, with close to 200 nations now participating in the global celebration. Each April, around 17,000 different grassroots organizations hold concerts, marches, nature walks, tree plantings, trash collection and recycling drives, upcycling workshops, educational forums, and much more all in the name of creating a cleaner, healthier planet.
These days, our Earth needs us more than ever. The environmental protections we’ve spent two generations fighting to establish are facing unprecedented attack both by an irresponsible administration hell-bent on rolling back regulations and dismantling protections on national parks and coastlines, and by corporations that continue to drill, frack, and dump with no regard for how it affects life on our planet. That’s why it’s imperative that we, as concerned citizens, get involved and do our part.
There are so many ways for us to help, even if it’s on a small scale: use alternative transportation, ditch the disposable cups and bottles in favor of reusable ones, decrease your landfill waste, or join a community garden. As the slogans say, “Think green,” and “Reduce, reuse, recycle.” By being mindful of your daily choices, you will also begin to cultivate a different relationship with the Earth.
So this Earth Day, get out there, find an event near you, connect with some like-minded eco-friendly folks, and start making a difference you’ll be glad you did. For more info, visit EARTHDAY.ORG.