I hope you are not all suffering too hard from the post-Earth Day blues! If you didn’t know, yesterday, April 22, was Earth Day. Some of us may have missed it – as it is usually brought to our attention by the cute crafts and activities facilitated by the schools. Despite schools being closed and Earth Day sneaking up on us (it’s almost May!), there seems to be a lot of appreciation going around these days for our green spaces and the natural beauty of our beloved planet. Although things seem a little confusing on the planet right now and it may be difficult to see an end in sight, I am constantly reminding myself that something beautiful often comes from times of distress. A phoenix rising from the ashes, if you will.
It is that mentality got me wondering about the first Earth Day and what the circumstances were that caused us to dedicate a day to loving our planet, rather than appreciating it every waking moment of our lives. Was there some major event? Were we abusing resources? What was going on and who declared Earth Day?! How have things changed since?
Senator Gaylord Nelson, who is the founder of Earth Day, took it upon himself to share his concerns about a lack of regulations for large industrial corporations. By providing a platform for the global community to share their concerns for the planet through Earth Day, groups that had once been fighting for environmental initiatives separately, were able to join forces to create a much larger impact on the people that needed to hear them.
After the first Earth Day in the Spring of 1970, where 20 million Americans demonstrated across the country, changes started to happen! In December of the very same year, congress authorized the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency! The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA for short), is an executive agency of the United States government dedicated to helping businesses make sound environmental choices in order to protect our green spaces and our planet! The EPA is responsible for what we know as the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act, which directly address toxic waste emissions from large industrial complexes and even small businesses – exactly what the 20 million Americans gathered to change on the first Earth Day in 1970.
For its 50th anniversary, Earth Day Network has shifted the focus to a global crisis – climate action. It is not surprise that we are starting to see the effects of a changing global climate in our everyday lives, but what actions can we take to encourage a thriving environment for future generations and even for our future selves? With the many hurtles that face climate change initiatives, come infinite opportunities to shape a world dedicated to its environment and that respects the planet that gives us everything. Although this year's Earth Day was slightly different, as many people are being encouraged to stay home and not gather in large crowds, there are still a number of ways to show your support for Earth and the issues being addressed by the Earth Day Network.
For a list of ways to support the Earth Day Network initiatives, and for more information on the history and future of Earth Day, check out: https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-50th-anniversary/
To explore more about the EPA and history of Earth Day on them, check out:
One of the best and extremely satisfying things you can do to help planet Earth is to take a pledge to change something about your life that has a positive environmental impact. This can be adding something to your life, or even eliminating something. It can even be changing something about your routine (i.e. shorter showers). Although it may seem minuscule, if each of us takes action, no matter how small, there is hope for a prosperous future of appreciating our planet and helping it thrive. I have my pledge to reduce my use of plastic straws right next to my door along with a reminder of where I keep my metal straws. It’s just the nudge I need as I head out for the day to keep me thinking about my impact on the planet. I love going out for coffee and it’s not something I am willing to give up at this point, but being at home all day has definitely shown me that I don’t actually NEED that much coffee in my life.
Even though Earth Day has passed for this year, don’t feel like it is too late to make a positive environmental impact. It’s something that we can all strive to be better at each and every day.
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