Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary is April 22
Earth Day is an annual event created to celebrate the planet's environment and raise public awareness about pollution. The day, marked on April 22, is observed worldwide with rallies, conferences, outdoor activities and service projects.
This year's theme is: CLIMATE ACTION
Climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world habitable. Unless every country in the world steps up – and steps up with urgency and ambition – we are consigning current and future generations to a dangerous future.
Earth Day 2020
Earth Day 2020 will be far more than a day. It must be a historic moment when citizens of the world rise up in a united call for the creativity, innovation, ambition, and bravery that we need to meet our climate crisis and seize the enormous opportunities of a zero-carbon future.
On April 22, 1970, Americans marched and demonstrated in the streets for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive rallies across the US. It was estimated 20 million people, from 10,000 elementary and high schools, 2,000 colleges, and over 1,000 communities participated that day.
Earth Day has been celebrated each year since. Each decade brings in more people, more countries, and more concerns. In 1990, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries.
This was a huge boost to recognizing the need for recycling worldwide and paved the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. In 2000, hundreds of millions of people in over 180 countries took part in Earth Day festivities, bringing focus to global warming and clean energy.
After 50 years of action, it would be nice to sit back and simply enjoy and appreciate the work done so far. Sadly, we still have a fight ahead of us. The last few years has brought an onslaught of policies that undermine environmental regulations, such as the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species acts.
Climate change and plastic pollution are of utmost concern to most citizens, but this falls on deaf ears of policy makers. Even as we face this alarming pandemic, environmental regulations are being loosened, further increasing air and water pollution in our country. Earth Day is recognized once a year, but it must become part of our everyday lives.
While we cannot take part in group activities this April to celebrate our Earth, there are things we can do. Politically, we can contact our elected officials (local, state, national) to tell them that the health of our environment is important, urging them to maintain adequate regulations for clean water and air. Remind them that our native plants and animals also need our help and the Endangered Species Act should remain intact.
As individuals, we can get out, especially on Earth Day, to enjoy and appreciate our natural environment. Perhaps you will be inclined to pick up litter along the road, look at flowers blooming at a nearby park or even in your neighborhood, listen to the birds.
Let’s turn our heightened awareness about what connects us, so clear during this COVID-19 pandemic, to a renewed commitment to preserve our Earth in all its wonders on this 50th anniversary of Earth Day.