The Evolution of Earth Day

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Image courtesy of Markus Spiske

Earth Day is celebrates every around the world to raise awareness for protecting our earth.

Diane Kim

As the world increasingly advances, so does its production of plastic, chemicals, and other hazards that pose a threat to Earth’s natural cleanliness and people’s wellbeing. With these rising concerns and wishes to make the world a healthier place, Senator Gaylord Nelson created Earth Day in 1970. This day incited great change, with Nelson himself later stating, “Earth Day achieved what I had hoped for and then some.The purpose of Earth Day was to get a nationwide demonstration of concern for the environment so large that it would shake the political establishment out of its lethargy and, finally, force this issue permanently into the political arena”. Now, every April 22, people around the world gather together to celebrate Mother Nature and raise awareness about the importance of keeping Earth healthy and safe.

Earth Day’s main goal is to spread awareness about the world’s environment and its problems. Before the establishment of Earth Day, however, Americans were living in oblivion, unaware of the toxic and harmful state they were living in. According to Untamed Science, people were living in states of dangerous air pollution. However, in 1962, author Rachel Carson wrote a book titled Silent Spring that positively influenced the public’s understanding of the environment and how it can be affected drastically if humans are not careful. Carson’s explanation about the chemical DDT and its ability to kill creatures and humans alike developed people’s perspectives on taking care of the Earth. With this book and growing awareness on the importance of environmental health, Earth Day served as a historical peak in focusing on nature and its preservation. According to History, in the year the day was created, an astonishing 20 million people nationwide participated, bringing posters, protesting, and fostering excitement in fighting against the adverse impact humans have on the planet. Change sparked quickly due to the establishment and popularity of Earth Day. The governmental Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was formed in the same year and began implementing strict rules and regulations against pollution. Environmentalists and nature lovers alike came together to celebrate their love for the Earth, and still continue to do so today.

Every Earth Day is a little special and different in how it is celebrated. However, due to the ongoing pandemic, there were a great amount of significant changes that took place. This year, the theme for Earth Day was “Restore Our Earth.” EarthDay states how the theme “focuses on natural processes, emerging green technologies, and innovative thinking that can restore the world’s ecosystems.” Centered around climate change, EarthDay believes that helping to take care of the earth is not a choice or something extra to do on the side, but rather a necessity which defines the quality of our lives. Unfortunately, due to the current quarantining state of the world, Earth Day became a challenge in bringing people together. As people were not able to celebrate in person this year, the annual event was taken on digitally. Starting from April 20 to April 22, there were countless online and live events that helped to spread and share the excitement of 2021’s special Earth Day. Participants were able to tune into multiple TED talks from passionate speakers, watch workshops and demonstrations, and learn about simple conservation methods such as taking on a successful plant-based diet. With numerous activities and ways to be educated about the Earth, Earth Day 2021 was a success, filled with taking action and learning. From Community Reporter, Plant Based Product Council’s executive director, Jessica Bowman, shares her tip for celebrating this year’s Earth Day in a new, helpful way: “Using more plant-based products—including everything from household cleaners, packaging, textiles, building materials and more—can decrease our reliance on fossil fuels, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and cut down on landfill waste”. Similarly, Megan Metler, from the publication, The Voice of Pelham, shares what students at elementary schools have done for this special day: “On top of their specific plans to celebrate during the month, students continued the green initiatives already in place during the school year, like litter-free lunches, “lights out” hours, and Good On One Side (G. O. O. S.) paper bins.” Creativity has no bounds when it comes to taking care of the Earth. There are no rules to age either when it comes to participating in keeping the planet healthy and clean.

Even with the growing amount of support for taking care of the environment, issues are still existing and growing in number. From having the majority of the public unaware that their “recyclable materials” aren’t really recyclable, to growing concerns about water pollution in the U.S., the state of the planet is never completely or safely controlled. With over a billion vehicles traveling the world and factories pushing to make more and more products, air pollution and climate change worsen. Even seemingly harmless activities such as farming and eating meat result in adverse changes in the environment. Therefore, the more that people join in on the fight against the carbon footprint, the better it will be for this shared planet that is irreplaceable. Earth Day should not just be remembered every April 22nd, but everyday. There are more than enough simple and easy ways to celebrate Earth Day in daily life. Using a bike for shorter distances, eating less meat, reusing gray water, or educating oneself on what is and is not recyclable are just some of the few eco-friendly steps toward taking care of the Earth.