Our 52nd Earth Day is approaching, and we are reminded to reflect on our relationship with nature and implement practices to respect and appreciate our natural home. How did Earth Day become such an iconic day celebrated for over 50 years by more than a billion people in 192 countries?
The first Earth Day was conceived in 1970 after decades of environmental disasters and unchecked pollutants ran rampant across the country. Eight years earlier, in 1962, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring mobilized a modern environmental movement by describing the connection between environmental health and public health and spurred environmental legislation in America. In 1969, the Santa Barbara Oil Spill polluted California’s pristine beaches and ignited Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson to rally a group of college activists to assist in creating the first Earth Day.
On April 22nd, 1970, the first Earth Day became the largest demonstration by that time with over 20 million people organizing to advocate against environmental ignorance. Months later, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanography Atmospheric Association were created, setting off a wave of environmental protection policy and reform.
So, how can we celebrate the 52nd Earth Day with a modern perspective of environmental justice and the climate emergency? (1.) Educate yourself on environmental issues and the communities that are most impacted by them. (2.) Donate and get involved with organizations focused on environmental justice. (3.) Write to your legislators and vote to enact environmental and social change. (4.) Implement sustainability into your everyday lifestyle!
By Addison Marr