Today is the 49th Annual Earth Day, a global event to celebrate Mother Nature and put a spotlight on environmental issues. The theme for 2019 Earth Day is “Protect our Species.” It aims to draw attention to the rapid extinction of species across the world, which is directly linked to human activity which causes climate change, deforestation and pollution. About a billion people worldwide mark Earth Day each year by signing petitions, planting trees or cleaning up their neighborhoods.
According to earthday.org, the idea for a national day to focus on the environment came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California.
On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.
Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. By the end of that year, the first Earth Day had led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. “It was a gamble,” Gaylord recalled, “but it worked.”
Protect our Species Campaign
Earth Day Network is asking people to join their Protect our Species campaign. Their goals are to: educate and raise awareness about the accelerating rate of extinction of millions of species and the causes and consequences of this phenomenon; achieve major policy victories that protect broad groups of species as well as individual species and their habitats and build; activate a global movement that embraces nature and its values and encourage individual actions such as adopting plant based diet and stopping pesticide and herbicide use.
How to celebrate Earth Day
- Keep the car in the garage
- Invest in a Reusable Coffee Cup
- Turn off appliances at the wall when you’re not using them,
or switching off lights when you leave the room
- Unplug the TV for a day
- Get Planting
- Use Earth-Friendly Cleaning Products
- BYO Grocery Bags
- Be a Vegetarian for a day