The first official Earth day was on April 22, 1970 when millions of people protested the negative impacts of industrial development. This was a time when there was growing concern about pollution and smog and its effects on people and the earth and concern over the loss of biological diversity and ecosystems. In July of 1970, the Environmental Protection Agency was formed and the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act were passed that year. The protests on April 22nd helped give the environment a voice. Even though there had been cries to help the environment for about 10 years with books like Silent Spring (1962), there was finally some real action from the U.S. as well as other developed countries around the world in the early 70’s.
Earth Day is now celebrated around the globe each year on April 22nd. Reports show that more than 1 billion people in over 190 countries now take part in this civic action to help protect our earth.
People celebrate earth day in all different ways: political celebrations include marching, signing petitions to help the environment, and meeting with elected officials. While direct action celebrations include environmental cleanups, planting trees, and making a personal change to conserve, it is also a day when businesses commit to making changes to their own policies to help the environment.
The Earth Day Network, the group that organizes earth day, chooses an earth day theme each year. In 2018, the theme was ending plastic pollution, in 2019 it is to help protect the species of the earth, and in 2020 they will be celebrating 50 years of Earth Day!
What will you do to celebrate earth day? Headwaters staff and board members participate in local cleanups and we will all make our own commitments to the little things we can do in the upcoming year to help the earth. Our executive director, Meg, will once again be looking at her families plastic usage to figure out ways to decrease it even more. It is important to take little changes that you know you can maintain instead of changing too many things at once. Even little changes make a big difference. As a group we will also look at our curriculum to see how we can make more environmental connections during our science programs.
This year on April 29th, just a few days after Earth Day we will host a Celebrate Science event that will feature student work on the California snowpack that provides a majority of the states drinking water.
Please join us to continue the Earth Day celebrations and see how the environment and science is so integrally connected.