The first Earth Day was organized by Gaylord Nelson, a former U.S. senator from Wisconsin, in 1970 as a way to bring environmental protection onto the national political agenda. “It took off like gangbusters. Telegrams, letters, and telephone inquiries poured in from all across the country,” Nelson recounted in an essay shortly before he died in 2005. The first Earth Day was a teach-in modeled after the anti-Vietnam War protests. An estimated 20 million people participated. Organizers expect more than a billion people in 192 countries to take part in the 2013 celebrations.
WHY DO WE CELEBRATE EARTH DAY?
Earth Day is a very special day specifically designed for all of us to think about earth issues. It reminds us to stop and look at the problems of our environment, and to evaluate what we can do to prevent those problems. It is not only a special day in the town where we live, but a day that the whole world participates in!
WHAT CAN WE DO TO HELP SAVE THE EARTH?
Being aware of the problems of our environment is very important. Taking steps to prevent those problems is even more important. As individuals, we can follow the rules of “reduce, reuse, recycle” daily. As families, we can try to use materials that are environmentally friendly and to limit our dependence on materials that cause pollution and resource loss. As students, we can work in teams to educate ourselves and others. As citizens, we can write to government representatives to let them know our priorities. Being an environmentalist today calls for a whole new level of greener thinking – from what you choose at the grocery store to how you travel to work or school every day.
Earth Day 2020 is the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. Celebrations will include activities such as the Great Global CleanUp, Citizen Science, Advocacy, Education, and art.
COVID-19 has shifted the global emphasis to Digital Mobilizations. Individual activities such as education and cleanups are encouraged where local conditions permit. “At Earth Day Network, the health and safety of volunteers and participants in Earth Day events is our top concern. Amid the recent outbreak, we encourage people to rise up but to do so safely and responsibly — in many cases, that means using our voices to drive action online rather than in person.