Earth Day is around the corner and, I have to admit, I just talked myself down from panic mode. Why you ask? Well, I write a blog about how important and easy it is to live green so Earth Day is the BIGGEST day of the year for me! I should be sharing tons and tons of tips and tricks for how to be greener at home. I should be creating lists of things you can do to recycle more, save more water, use less energy and save the planet, right?
Before I get to all that let me give you a little background about Earth Day. It’s pretty interesting!
Earth Day History
The idea for Earth Day was Gaylord Nelson’s, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. He soon realized that if he could marry the public’s energy from recent anti-war movements along with a growing public awareness and concern about air and water pollution that environmental issues could be forced onto the national political agenda. Senator Nelson announced the idea for a “national teach-in on the environment” to the national media; persuaded Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman, to serve as his co-chair; and recruited Denis Hayes from Harvard as national coordinator. Hayes built a national staff of 85 to promote events around the US.
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. 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. By the end of 1970, 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.
In 1990 Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and 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. It also prompted President Bill Clinton to award Senator Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1995)—the highest honor given to civilians in the United States—for his role as Earth Day founder.
Earth Day is now 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.
How Should You Celebrate?
I think how you celebrate Earth Day is entirely up to you…and, yes, I think you should mark the day in some way! If gathering up your family to attend an organized stream clean-up is your thing – go for it. If heading outdoors with your family just to enjoy nature makes you happy – do it! Or if setting up a recycling bin in your kitchen is how your contribute – perfect.
My point is, do something no matter how small. I think Earth Day is a time to pause, think about the bigger picture and make some sort of conscious commitment. It’s kind of like New Year’s Day for the environment! You take a step back and consider the things you want to change and set resolutions.
Earth Day Pledge
So, this Earth Day I’m not going to suggest that you focus on recycling more or using less water (although both good ideas!) but propose one challenge. I’d like to challenge you to take a moment to consider all of the things that you have (i.e clothing, food, water) and you do (i.e. drive a car, take a shower, turn on a lamp) in your daily life. Now, consider where all of those things come from or how they are all possible and then think about where they go when your are done with them or what resources they use. Now consider this – everything you have and do has an impact on our planet.
So, can you make one easy Earth Day pledge to start April 22 with a new perspective? One that allows you to see the bigger picture and allows you to consider the impact your actions have? Can you carry that perspective with you through your daily life? And can you use that perspective to help guide you and your family in the choices you make day to day? I bet you can!
Happy Earth Day!