Earth day is an annual celebratory event that allows us to take time to reflect on and be grateful for the world we live in. Each year, it takes place on the 22nd of April and marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. The movement was established in order to raise awareness for the Earth, highlight several environmental concerns, and vouch against the harming and pollution of the Earth. Gaylord Nelson, a previous US Senator from Wisconsin, was the founder of the idea of having a national day to focus on the significance of the environment after witnessing the devastation caused by the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. The event was then promoted all across the nation and April 22nd became the selected date for the celebration. 20 million Americans took to the streets on April 22nd, 1970 to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment. By 1990, Earth day went global and elicited 200 million people from 141 countries to join the movement and speak out for environmental issues. Earth day in 1990 also lead to a boost in recycling efforts all around the world. As the years have progressed, the campaign has become more focused on global warming and a push for clean energy. Although, several challenges started to arise as a result of climate change deniers, well-funded oil lobbyists, unresponsive politicians, a disinterested public, and a divided environmental community. Despite such issues, Earth Day continued to prevail and introduced numerous environmental service projects such as “A Billion Acts of Green”, a global tree planting initiative. Earth Day is now celebrated by more than a billion people every year, and continues to raise awareness for the value of our planet. We’ve only got one Earth, so we need to treasure it and give it all the necessary care to allow it to thrive for many generations to come.
By Farida Saker