What is Earth Day?
Earth Day, celebrated on 22nd April each year, is the annual event dedicated to awareness about the various environmental challenges that face our planet.
Co-ordinated by the Earth Day Network, 193 countries around the world have their own version of celebrations.
In many places, Earth Day forms part of Earth Week: a longer period of climate awareness that includes activities and campaigns.
The 2021 version of Earth Day will be the 50th anniversary of the event.
History of Earth Day
The idea of Earth Day first originated among the people fighting the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill.
It is said that American senator Gaylord Nelson, one of the main proponents of the event, was flying over the disaster in an aeroplane and was so shocked by the scale of it that he decided to create a Day to help prevent future cases.
The first Earth Day, held in 1970, saw millions of people around the world roam the streets with the desire to make a stand for environmental change. Many think of this as being the beginning of modern environmental activism.
Since then, the Day has gone from strength to strength, with the Internet helping to distribute its message further than was ever possible before.
Its crowning achievement perhaps came in 2016, when the Paris Agreement came into force for the majority of the World’s countries, ensuring increased environmental protection.
Earth Day is now the world’s largest civic event.
How is Earth Day celebrated?
Each year, Earth Day has a variety of themes, signifying a new focus on a particular environmental concern.
In 2021, these themes include:
- Volunteering: millions of people will take part in Earth Day, and it is hoped that many will volunteer to improve the environments where they live. This could involve anything from cleaning up litter to help plant new trees.
- Artists for the Earth: to help spread the message of environmental urgency, art can play a huge part in capturing the public’s imagination.
- Education: it is only by focusing on the next generation that the environmental fight can continue to be fought.
- Events: awareness events, such as street rallies and marches, will bring the causes of Earth Day to the doorstep of homes throughout the World.