For the last 51 years we have celebrated Earth Day on April 22nd. Earth Day first began in 1970 when Gaylord Nelson, a Wisconsin Senator, had the idea for teach-ins that would raise awareness for environmental problems. Nelson’s vision was incredibly successful with more than 20 million people that “mobilized to call for greater protections for our planet.”
By 1990, 200 million people in 141 countries around the world were observing Earth Day in efforts to shed more light on environmental issues. Earth Day is now the largest secular observance in the world.
Why do we celebrate?
The first Earth Day in 1970 was so successful that it helped lead to the creation of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) in the same year. The EPA is still extremely active and is “responsible for the protection of human health and the environment.”
Earth Day has helped establish some of our most important environmental laws like the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. Continuing to observe and celebrate Earth Day serves as a reminder that our earth is a special place that needs to be taken care of.
How can YOU celebrate?
There are many ways that you and your family can make a difference in our world and help celebrate Earth Day.
- Recycle: We all knew we should reduce, reuse, and recycle but Earth Day is a perfect time to actually start! Commit to starting small and recycle aluminum cans or plastic bottles.
- Plant a tree: Trees produce oxygen and they are essential for humans to survive. Planting a tree or small garden is great way to celebrate because you will be able to reap the benefits of a beautiful plant.
- Ride your bike: By choosing to bike or walk rather than ride your car or take the bus, you are helping keep our air clean and eliminating air pollution.
- Start a compost: You can reduce your waste by composting. Start with a small bin and throw things like newspaper and food scraps in it rather than in the trash.
- Pick up trash: Pick a local park or street where you have noticed trash lying around. Make it beautiful again by picking up the trash and throwing it away. Don’t forget your gloves!
We can celebrate Earth Day not just on April 22, but every day of the year by practicing conserving our Earth’s resources. By keeping our environment safe and clean, we will all be able to enjoy our beautiful world for a very long time!