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All About Earth Day

It’s been a few weeks since Earth Day, and people all over the world spent April 22nd doing their part to demonstrate their support for environmental protection. Individuals, joined by their friends and family, have hit the streets picking up garbage in their community and taking on other environmentally friendly acts. Since Earth Day is in April, it generally rains quite a bit, making gardening a popular Earth-friendly activity. It’s a wonderful way to get involved with nature and your community, but why should we keep these as annual actions? Earth Day doesn’t teach us only to take care of our environment and climate one day a year; it teaches us to be consistent and to continuously do our part in our community, in our city, in our province, and in our country, to take care of our environment the best we can.

History of Earth Day

Earth Day takes place every year on April 22nd. According to Earthday.org, Americans were using large quantities of leaded gas by massive and unreliable engines in the decades leading up to the first Earth Day in 1970. Industries belched out smoke and sludge with no concern about legal or public repercussions. Before now, the majority of Americans were completely unaware of environmental issues and the dangers that a toxic climate poses to human health. Senator Gaylord Nelson, a junior senator of Wisconsin, had long expressed anxiety about the country’s worsening climate. Then, in January of 1969, he and several others in Santa Barbara, California, saw the devastation caused by a major oil spill. Senator Nelson hoped to combine the vigor of student anti-war demonstrations with a growing general awareness of toxins in the air and water. He teamed up with Republic Congressman, Pete McCloskey, and the two recruited Denis Hayes, a young activist. They chose April 22nd, a weekday between Spring Break and final exams, to arrange campus teach-ins, and they chose that date to increase student attendance. On Earth Day, organizations that had been campaigning separately against oil leaks, polluting mills and power plants, untreated waste, industrial dumps, contaminants, freeways, the depletion of wilderness, and species destruction came together behind these shared ideals. Earth Day 1970 reached a remarkable democratic unity, with Republicans and Democrats, wealthy and poor, corporate and labor leaders supporting the cause.

Image is courtesy of Lexie Pitzen via Pinterest.

Now, Earth Day has brought hundreds of millions of people worldwide together by creating opportunities for civic engagement and volunteering. From schools to families, Earth Day is an important and valuable event that has become a major advancement along the pathway of engagement around the protection of our planet.

Earth Day at the Present

Even with the continuous lockdowns and the entire pandemic in general, we are luckily still finding ways to get off our couch during Earth Day and participate in different activities that better protect our environment. Larger corporations have slowly begun to get involved and identify ways their companies can take a step in the right direction and do their part in protecting the environment. Although doing something concrete on April 22nd is good, every day is even better. Picking up healthier habits and keeping them consistent will have a much more effective impact than if we were to only do something on one day.

Easy Habits We Can Adopt

  1. Pick up litter in your community - It’s almost summer and the weather is slowly improving, which makes it the perfect opportunity to get fresh air and pick up any litter thrown on the ground. Wear a pair of rubber gloves, bring garbage bags, and bring a mask in case there are others around. Bring a friend to keep you company (more help and more efficient) or put in earphones and spend some quality time with nature.

  2. Subscribe to online magazines instead of having them sent to your mailbox - With physical magazines sent to your door, they end up becoming useless once you’re done reading them. Subscribing to the online version is a paperless way of getting the content you have always loved.

  3. Purchase reusable grocery bags and produce bags - You can purchase reusable grocery bags at any grocery store and reusable produce bags from your grocery store as well as the dollar store, Bed, Bath and Beyond, IKEA, Etsy, and Stokes. You can purchase them online, but as we know, any purchase that consists of packages being transported by planes or trucks involves the release of greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere, which negatively affects our climate.

  4. Read books on sustainability - Unplug and purchase a book to better understand climate change, pollution, and sustainability. A few books you may want to take a look at are:

  5. Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by William McDonough & Michael Braungart

  6. Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future by Mary Robinson

  7. How Bad Are Bananas?: The Carbon Footprint of Everything (2020 Update) by Mike Berners-Lee

  8. Wear No Evil: How to Change the World with Your Wardrobe by Greta Eagan

It’s not difficult to take on these important habits, and they are to no consequence! It’s all about taking the initiative and making the necessary changes that will benefit you and the future. Let’s keep the Earth safer for us and the future generations!

Article Author: Alizeh Qaiser

Article Editors: Valerie Shirobokov, Victoria Huang