Each year, Earth Day is celebrated around the world on April 22. This year marks Earth Day’s 45th anniversary. At a time in which we are experiencing climate change that has affected various regions and creatures, it is important we stand together to protect the Earth we live in. Celebrations like Earth Day are the perfect opportunity to raise awareness for environmental issues and they are a great way for each one of us to get involved.
How Earth Day was Born
It was 1970 and the hippie and flower-child culture was at it’s peak in the United States; the war in Vietnam was still going on and all across the nation students opposed it. Protesting prevailed, however saving the planet was not in anyone’s mind. At the time, Americans were oblivious of the increasing pollution they were surrounded by; legal consequences and bad press for industries belching smoke were minimal.
Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, was inspired to create this event after witnessing the effects of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, CA. Earth Day 1970 capitalized on the emerging consciousness of the challenges the nation faced and aimed to channel the energy of the anti-war protest movement and place environmental concerns to the front and center. Senator Nelson announced the idea for a “national teach-in on the environment” to the national media. This resulted in 20 million Americans taking the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demand for a healthy, sustainable environment in rallies all across the nation. Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, as it enlisted support from Republicans and Democrats, the rich and poor, urbanites and farmers, high level executives and labor leaders. The very first Earth Day ultimately led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species
Earth Day Today
Throughout the years, more and more nations began to be inspired by this movement. Today Earth Day is the largest civic event in the world, which is celebrated around the world by people of all backgrounds, faiths and nationalities. As environmental issues and needs have changed, the focus of every Earth day shifted as well. We are living in exciting times, as this is a year in which economic growth and sustainability are joining hands for the environmental movement.
Technology has also played a major role in shaping Earth Day; the internet and social media have made it easier to connect amongst communities, like-minded people and organize activists all over the world. These tools have also allowed for increased communication between communities, the ability to share environmental issues in isolated areas that also affect other nations, sharing success stories that inspire others, etc.
We've come a pretty long way and there are even mobile apps that can help you jumpstart your Earth Day celebrations, My Earth - Track your Carbon Savings lets you keep a log of your daily energy consumption and lets you know how you can reduce it.
Though the major themes and causes that surround Earth Day each year are different, the significance of this day and fight for a clean environment for all creatures remain the same.
CommitChange Earth Day Changemakers
We invite you to be a part of Earth Day and help write more success stories in our history. Channel your passions and energy towards building a cleaner, healthier and more diverse world for the next generations. We are so lucky to experience change and take part in success stories every single day by working with our awesome nonprofits. Check out these CommitChange changemakers who are currently working towards building a better world:
SOIL is a Haiti-based research and development non-profit organization that designs, tests and implements low-cost environmental technologies. A primary focus for SOIL is the community-identified priority of ecological sanitation (EcoSan), a process by which human wastes are converted into valuable compost. EcoSan simultaneously tackles some of Haiti’s toughest challenges by providing sanitation to people who would otherwise have no access to a toilet and producing an endless supply of rich, organic compost critical for agriculture and reforestation.
Founded in 1999, Kauai Path is a community organization with the vision of Kauai residents working together to preserve, protect, and extend access island-wide through the design, implementation, and stewardship of non-motorized multi-use paths. Kauai Path continues to drive the expansion of the trail network on the East, South, West and North shores of the island providing safe, healthy alternative modes of transportation.
The Global Good Fund
The Global Good Fund is a leadership development enterprise built by and for social entrepreneurs. This organization identifies high-potential leaders and accelerates their success through proven and proprietary development methods. The Global Good Fund believes growing leaders is the best strategy for solving complex social problems and achieving global good.
What are you waiting for? Be a part of Earth Day. Volunteer with your favorite nonprofit. Go to a festival in your community. Install solar panels on your roof. Change a habit that might be polluting our world. The possibilities for getting involved today are endless! Do something nice for our planet while having fun and meeting people who are also trying to make a difference. But remember, don’t limit this to a day. Every day can be Earth Day if together we stay committed to building a better world.