Inspired by the anti-war movement, U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson realized he could use the energy from the movement for more changes. His plan was to mix that energy with public consciousness about air and water pollution and power environmental protection onto the national public agenda. With a staff of eighty-five republicans, democrats, liberals, and conservatives, he promoted his national teach-in on the environment across the country. Finally, on April 22, 1970 the advocates took their voices to streets all over America, along with twenty million other Americans. This massive coast to coast rally brought about more than awareness about a healthy and sustainable environment; by the end of 1970, Earth Day was responsible for the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.
In 1990, Earth Day went global, giving a huge boost to worldwide recycling efforts and helping pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Each Earth Day victory is huge, but each new year also brings to light new and existing struggles, such as the research around climate change and a divided environmental community. Celebrated by more than a billion people worldwide, the fight for a clean environment continues every day. This history brings us to Earth Day 2017, with the Earth Day campaign of “environmental and climate literacy”, which focuses on the concept that the foundation for progress is education.
The history is great, but I’m sure what you really want to know is how to celebrate! There is no right or wrong way to celebrate. Whether this is your first official celebration, or you can’t remember a time when you didn’t celebrate, how you celebrate is up to you. Maybe you haven’t started a recycle bin, maybe you need some more trees in the back yard, or maybe your goal is to learn all about the idea behind Earth Day. Here’s a list of a few ways to make your earth day a little earthier:
- Recycle not only your everyday plastics and glass, but also your e-waste (computers, TVs, etc).
Learn how to grow your favorite produce.
- Start by growing your favorite herb in a window pot, then move on to your favorite veggies in the backyard.
- Plant a tree or two or donate to The Canopy Project to help them reach their goal of planting 150,000 trees (https://donate.earthday.org/events/trees-for-earth/e76443)
- Make a pledge as a part of the A Billion Acts of Green: A few examples are getting rid of plastic bags, start a work carpool, or start your own garden (http://www.earthday.org/take-action/)
- Build a bird feeder and hang it out in your yard- just don’t forget to keep it full!
- Pick up litter around your neighborhood or organize a group and do it together
- Make a breakfast, lunch, dinner, or all three out of only locally grown food
- Spend the day technology free
- Educate yourself about what Earth Day is all about
Click here to learn about how we do our part and how we can help you!