Since 1970, Earth Day exists to remind us that we have one home, this planet. Sure, we have NASA and billionaires like Elon Musk, Sir Richard Branson, and Jeff Bezos looking to take humans to space. Still, that shouldn’t detract from the reality that Earth is home, and it’ll remain so for future generations. So, we’ve got to do everything in our power to protect it for those living today and generations to come. In celebration of this planet, we want to share the Earth Day history and resources for helping our world and participating.
For starters, in 2021, mark your calendar for April 22. That’s when Earth Days is this year. Next, if you’re as motivated as we are to do something for sustainability and to fight climate change, well then, get yourself signed-up on the official site. By signing up, you commit to becoming part of the change. Moreover, you’ll get information about the special initiatives around sustainability, including in education, civic action, and conservation.
Earth Day History and Its Importance
As we mentioned, Earth Day started on April 22, 1970. And since that time, more than 1 billion have mobilized to fight climate change and promote sustainability. Moreover, virtually every country on the planet has participated in one form or another. All of that is incredibly impressive for Earth Day history! The sustainability movement came as a way to inform, educate, and activate the global population.
By 1970, Americans and nations worldwide relied heavily on fossil fuels. Automobiles, for instance, released black and toxic fumes everywhere they went. If you happened to be around during that time, then you probably recall the terrible car exhausts. However, Earth Day was one of the starting points for getting people to realize the consequences of industrial development and our reliance on fossil fuels. Sure, prosperity and development are vital for humans, but there were no rail guards for how it happened up to that point.
The idea for Earth Day started in the U.S. In 1969, Senator Gaylord Nelson, from Wisconsin, watched a colossal oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Senator Nelson was also troubled by the emerging science of the troubles facing the environment. As Americans know, the 1960s were a time of great civil unrest, including for civil rights and anti-war. With the inspiration of what Senator Nelson saw in anti-war protests, he decided to create the same energy around the environment. In doing so, he decided to do a teach-in across the U.S. at college campuses, with a media push, about the environment.
Why was April 22 chosen? It’s simple; it fell between college spring break and the weeks before finals. Senator Nelson wanted to ensure that as many young college activists as possible participated in making the first Earth Day work.
The Day of the Planet Grows into a Global Movement
In advance of the first day, Senator Nelson recruited Congressman Pete McCloskey to join the effort. It was essential to get someone who was conservative onboard for the broadest appeal. And for the colleges and youth activation, the pair recruited Denis Hayes, a young activist. Hayes developed a staff of 85 people with congressional support for the first Earth Day. The activists spread the word in every way they could. Remember, there was no social media or networking then. So, they had to get as much local and national media attention as possible. In short, they succeeded.
The first Earth Day motivated 20 million people in the U.S., which represented 10% of the population, to support Earth Day’s idea. People took to the streets and college campuses in support of raising awareness. Thousands of college students and adult supporters protested across American communities. While the industrial age had increased the standard of living for millions worldwide, it did so at a steep cost to the environment. Moreover, the consequences affected not only the planet but also animal and human health and life.
In short, a movement was born, and the official site has more Earth Day history if you’re interested. Today, we know a lot more about the consequences of the destruction of our planet and environment. And, like the time when Earth Day was created, today’s world is seeing young people globally looking for an active change—not talk. In other words, there’ve been decades of talk by politicians, the public, and big business about doing something for the planet. There’s no more time left for talk. It’s time for action to arrest the biggest existential threat every living thing on our planet faces.
Resources for Earth Day for You to Take Action
Each one of us could play our part on Earth Day—and beyond. We have to remember that fighting climate change and taking action for sustainability isn’t just a one-day thing. In other words, each of us needs to do something regularly in support of our planet. The following are several resources to help you join the Earth Day movement.
- Register for an Earth Day event near you.
- Sign-up to become an Earth Day volunteer.
- Take a look at this guide for sustainability ideas, Green Living: How to do Good for the Planet.
- Got gently worn, used and new shoes you don’t need? Want to help a good cause? Those shoes are essential, so please give them a new life in a socially responsible shoe drive fundraiser.
- Download this resource, Raise Money, Help the Environment, & People.
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