April 22nd marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, a globally recognized celebration of our natural surroundings and a reminder that planet Earth is not a renewable resource. Each year, everything from beach cleanups to educational programs designed to facilitate a love for our planet take place, and this year will be no different.
The first Earth Day took place on April 22nd, 1970, largely due to the efforts of Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson. He suggested the idea to send a message to Washington that the public opinion strongly aligned with a national grassroots movement. What began as a “national teach-in on the environment” soon turned global. Within two decades, Earth day was officially recognized in several nations.
This movement spread like wildfire. When the first Earth Day took place, people rallied in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia among other cities in the midst of performances and speeches centering around environmental activism. Earth Day marked the start of a political decade characterized by new environmental policy. These included the institution of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act.
This year, the world will celebrate an Earth Day among a pandemic-ridden environment, but activists are still intent on marking the occasion. The Official Earth Day Network is currently advertising ways to join in on Earth Day activities digitally. Options include plogging (any form of exercise which also involves caring for the environment, such as picking up litter on a jog), joining the Campus Climate Project to educate others about the significance of Earth Day, or using the Earth Challenge 2020 app to garner environmental data about air quality and plastic pollution.
The Earth day 2020 theme is climate action. Our world may be experiencing a temporary COVID 19 crisis, but the climate crisis is ongoing. Whether it be picking up a candy wrapper on a run or remembering to recycle a glass bottle, help the Earth in some way on this Earth day.