Every year on April 22nd, Earth Day is celebrated the world over. The idea of Earth Day originated from a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson, after he saw the devastating effects the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, CA had on the environment. Through his inspiration from the anti-war movement of the time, Nelson realized that if he could infuse that same energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution it would bring national attention to the importance of protecting the environment. Nelson announced his idea for a “national teach-in on the environment” to the media, which resulted in the formation of a national staff consisting of dozens of people who came together to promote events across the United States.
Nelson’s original idea proved to be very productive, as on April 22, 1970, approximately 20 million Americans gathered across the country in large rallies to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment. Thousands of colleges and universities in America organized peaceful protests against the deterioration of the environment. The very first Earth Day eventually led to the formation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts.
How to Participate in Earth Day
Ways for getting involved with Earth Day are virtually limitless! As an individual, you can make a big difference by doing things like becoming an active recycler, starting a community garden and by communicating with your elected officials about protecting the environment.
You can also get in the habit of turning off lights, computers and appliances when not in use, and replace standard light bulbs with energy-efficient lights to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Buying energy-efficient household appliances and using natural cleaning products instead of those containing harmful chemicals are other ways you can show your support for Earth Day every day of the year.
Instead of driving to work, ride a bike or take the bus. You can even start a carpool to help conserve energy and reduce air pollution. Become active on the local level by pitching in to help clean up litter or plant trees. Check with your local Chamber of Commerce to find ways you can help preserve the environment and get out there and become involved!
Spread Awareness by Sharing Your Knowledge
Sharing your knowledge is also a great thing to do as getting others involved in Earth Day practices, activities and habits will help further the cause. You can even promote Earth Day at your place of work by doing something as simple as advocating for the use of energy-efficient products, tools and equipment or starting a recycling program.
Think Earth Day Every Day
Even though Earth Day is only officially celebrated on April 22nd, you can practice Earth Day activities every day of the year. Remember that every small gesture and action you take to help protect the environment counts! Encourage your family, friends, co-workers and acquaintances to practice being earth friendly every day. Reach out on the local level to see what activities and events you can participate in that will help better the environment and protect our planet.
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