The Earth Day

111102b1ae0b9146bee1557864258726The Earth Day is celebrated to educate people to make them aware of the climate change and it’s consequences. It all started in 1970 at the height of the countercultural movements in the United States of America. During the 1960s, when most young people in the US broke away from the mainstream cultural concepts and the long-held values and norms of behaviours started to break down, many activists emerged. They protested against anything—the war in Vietnam, political situations, freedom of speech and expression, gay rights, colour discriminations, sexual freedom and many other things. One peace activist, John McConnell, was one of them. His mission was to save the Earth by protecting the environments.
At that time, people around the world, especially in the developed and industrialized countries were exposed to leaded gas through petrol guzzling motor vehicles. The industries, or rather the factories belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of legal consequences or bad press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the scent of prosperity. “Environment” was a word that appeared more often in the children’s spelling bees competitions than on the medias.
McConnell came up with an idea of the Earth Day celebrations to make people aware of the importance of protecting the environments. In 1969 at an UNESCO Conference in San Francisco, he proposed a day to honor the Earth and the concept of peace, to be celebrated on March 21, 1970. He managed to get it sanctioned in a proclamation written by him and signed by Secretary General U Thant at the United Nations. A month later a separate Earth Day was founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in, first held on April 22, 1970. The April 22 Earth Day was originally focused on the United States, but an organization led by Denis Hayes, who was the original national coordinator in 1970, took it international in 1990 and organized events in 141 nations.
The Earth Day 1970 gave voice to that emerging consciousness, channeling the energy of the anti-war and other protest movements and put the environmental concerns on the front page. Today, Earth Day is an annual event celebrated on April 22, worldwide during which, various events are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection.
As 1990 approached, a group of environmental leaders asked Denis Hayes to organize another big campaign. This time, Earth Day went global and managed to mobilize 200 million people in 141 countries, lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. Earth Day 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
The Earth Day 2010 came at a time of great challenge for the environmental community. Climate change deniers, well-funded oil lobbyists, reticent politicians, a disinterested public, and a divided environmental community all contributed to the narrative—cynicism versus activism. Despite these challenges, Earth Day prevailed and Earth Day Network reestablished Earth Day as a relevant, powerful focal point. Earth Day Network brought 250,000 people for a Climate Rally and launched the world’s largest environmental service project—A Billion Acts of Green.
It introduced a global tree planting initiative that has since grown into The Canopy Project, and engaged 22,000 partners in 192 countries in observing Earth Day. The Earth Day events celebrated since 1970 are now being held in more than 193 countries coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network
On Earth Day 2016, the landmark Paris Agreement (COP21) was signed by the United States, China, and some 120 other countries.
This signing fulfilled a key requirement for the entry into force of the historic draft ‘climate protection treaty’ adopted by consensus of the 195 nations present at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.
Many communities celebrate Earth Week, an entire week of activities focused on the environmental issues that the world faces. In 2017, the March for Science occurred on Earth Day (April 22, 2017) and was followed by the Peoples’ Climate Mobilization (April 29, 2017). As for this year, since the beginning of April, documentaries related to the protection of environments and the looming threats of the climate change are being aired on the TV channels worldwide as an awareness campaign.
Earth Day had reached its present status as the largest secular observance in the world, celebrated by more than a billion people every year, and a day of action that changes human behavior and provokes policy changes.
Today, the fight for a clean environment continues with increasing urgency, as the ravages of climate change become more manifest every day.
The year 2020 will mark the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day. In honor of this milestone, Earth Day Network is launching an ambitious set of goals to shape the future of 21st century environmentalism.
As global citizens, we should also contribute to the protection of the environments. In the past, I had written many articles related to the climate change highlighting what factors contribute to cause it, the threats they pose to our Earth and how to counter them. Here again, I would like to point out some salient points that we should observe to rein in the climate change.
The main idea is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which contribute to the greenhouse effects that lead to the global warming. To reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the use of fossilized fuels should be cut drastically by substituting with renewable or green energies, such as: solar, wind and hydro powers. Growing more trees will create a carbon sink to help reduce carbon dioxide presence in the atmosphere. Slash and burn agricultural practices should also be banned. As individuals, the least we can do is to reduce the use of plastic bags and packagings.
All these actions would contribute much to the protection of the enviroment and thus, save the Earth.
References:
(1)The History of Earth Day ( Earth Day
Network)
(2) Earth Day (Wikipedia)

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