Earth Day is one of the most beautiful global holidays celebrated across the world. With the increased focus on the environment and what we can each do to play our part, it is the perfect time to take another look at Earth Day in depth. Held each April 22nd, or on the Vernal Equinox in some countries, we will now look at what it is, and why we should continue to celebrate it every year.
If you are interested in finding out more about Earth Day, when it first began and how to celebrate it, read on to find out more…
What is Earth Day and who created it?
Earth Day, much as the name suggests, is a day when we celebrate the Earth. Or rather, it is the day that we celebrate the achievements made to better conserve the Earth that year. It is also a time for education, for learning more about the environment, conservation and sustainability for the future.
The very first Earth Day took place in the United States of America on April 22nd, 1970. More than 50 years ago. At that time, the environmental movement was struggling to get any kind of traction or acknowledgement.
The end of the sixties saw some people begin to take more notice, and that led Senator and Environmentalist Gaylord Nelson to work with Graduate Student Denis Hayes to create the first Earth Day. They hoped that they could galvanise students and the entire population to focus more on the environment, and they succeeded.
More than 20 million people took part in the first Earth Day back in 1970. They met up in classrooms and colleges, by the Washington Monument and on Fifth Avenue, and they talked about the environment and ways they could help.
The results were impressive. That year saw the USA passing the Clean Air Act which has saved millions of people from disease and death. The country went on to pass more laws and, importantly, Earth Day really made the environment a bigger concern for its citizens.
Twenty years later in 1990, Earth Day went global, and it is now celebrated in more than 190 countries all over the world. Its importance as a day for educating and encouraging people to focus on the environment has not changed. Indeed, the Paris Climate Agreement where countries sign up to reduce emissions began getting signatures on Earth Day in 2016.
How do you celebrate Earth Day?
Earth Day is all about the environment, about learning or teaching someone something new, taking a positive step to reduce your carbon footprint or doing something to help the planet in some way. There are so many ways that you could choose to celebrate Earth Day. Some great ones are:
- Assess your own environmental impact – and think of ways to reduce it!
- Plant a tree – or plant several trees. Each tree you plant helps, so why not get your friends and family involved, or even the wider community as well?
- Start growing a garden – growing your own food is a wonderful way to celebrate Earth Day. And that way you may be able to celebrate next year’s Earth Day by making dinner using your home-grown vegetables for your family and friends.
- Take up composting – food waste is a huge environmental concern. Making a compost pile or using an electric composter can save so much space in landfills, where organic waste accounts for over a third of the total waste.
- Recycle – as well as food recycling, ensuring you recycle plastics, cardboard and anything else can make a difference. For Earth Day, try and get more people recycling too at work or in the neighbourhood.
- Pick up litter in your area – one nice way to celebrate is to go out and make an impact on your neighbourhood. Picking up litter not only looks better but will make people think more before they drop it again.
- Do a beach cleaning sweep – similarly, our beaches are covered in so much rubbish, so organising a beach clean-up is fun and impactful too.
- Carpool with your friends – every little helps, and saving on multiple cars is one way to do a little.
- Have a car-free day – likewise, you can opt to bike, take a bus or train or walk instead.
- Go dark for the day – try not to use any electricity or electronics all day and see if you can manage it, and what fun you can have offline.
- Make a video or post a message – about something environmental that you care about, something you have just learned or want to share with the world.
- Visit a nature reserve or national park – getting out in nature can help remind you what it is that people are fighting for.
- Go hiking – much like above, hiking is great exercise and you can check out the beauty that surrounds you.
- Educate your place of business – and try and change any negative policies about recycling, for example.
- Educate yourself – because that is what it really is all about.
Why is it important to celebrate Earth Day?
Earth Day really began as a tool for educating people and encouraging them to make changes on a personal, national and global level. Continuing to celebrate Earth Day is the way that we can all pledge to do our part both to keep the conversation going. And also to move to being more environmentally friendly in our lives.
If the right steps are not taken by each and every one of us, we will soon see even more serious consequences for the planet and also for ourselves. Climate change, global warming and lack of sustainability, these issues have been debated for decades but are finally accepted and acknowledged as true.
More and more businesses are moving towards more sustainable practices, and are shifting their focus to their environmental impact. Individuals are choosing to make environmentally conscious decisions, such as composting instead of simply throwing food away.
These kinds of changes need to be encouraged to continue, and Earth Day is one way we can do that. Having one day a year where hundreds of millions of people all come together to learn and think about the future is certainly worth continuing. And well worth celebrating.