By Selina Iglesias
The Earth is a truly magnificent planet. It is the only planet that has the perfect conditions for supporting life, unlike any other planet in the solar system.
The Earth is so amazing that it even has an entire holiday dedicated to it. For 45 years now, Earth Day has been celebrated on April 22.
Created in 1969 by Senator Gaylord Nelson, Earth Day originally came to be as an outcry for public awareness on air and water pollution. After witnessing an oil spill in Santa Barbara, California that year, Senator Nelson reached out to the media and national political groups. With a staff of 85 people to bring his cause to life, Senator Nelson took the world by storm and dedicated Earth Day on April 22.
“At a conference in Seattle in September 1969, I announced that in the spring of 1970 there would be a nationwide grassroots demonstration on behalf of the environment and invited everyone to participate,” wrote Nelson in his book Beyond
Earth Day: Fulfilling the Promise. “The wire services carried the story from coast to coast. The response was electric.”
The first Earth Day created more than just a new celebration; it also inspired the Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Air, Clean Water Act in 1970. Thousands of American protesters organized rallies that stretched from coast to coast, and many colleges conducted protests against the environment’s collapse. Many schools and communities participated as well.
“That was the remarkable thing about Earth Day,” wrote Nelson. “It organized itself.”
As a result, the Earth Day Network, a nonprofit organization that takes on the role of coordinating Earth Day activities across the globe, was created.
Nelson had no idea that his urge to fight back against climate change and pollution would grow to a global scale. In 1990, Earth Day became a worldwide celebration, with over 140 nations cooperating.
Today, Earth Day is still going strong.
According to the Earth Day Network, “more than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.”
With activities such as planting trees, annual lights-off events to raise awareness about climate change called Earth Hour and simple acts such as recycling and picking up litter, Earth Day is a day that can be easily celebrated. Some communities and cities, like Pensacola, celebrate Earth Day for a whole week. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of a day celebrating Mother Earth?
Want to glorify this awesome holiday?
Below are 22 things to do to honor your home planet, not just on Earth Day, but every day:
- Recycle daily. It takes no time at all to find a recycling bin around campus.
- Volunteer at the wildlife sanctuary or the Humane Society.
- Bring a bag with you to the beach, park, or even a walk around the neighborhood and pick up litter.
- Start a community garden, or participate in an existing one around your neighborhood.
- Cut out meat out of your diet at least twice a week. It’s better for you and the environment, according to The Guardian.
- Use less water. Turn off the water when you shampoo/condition your hair or as you brush your teeth.
- If you go fishing, be sure to dispose of your hooks properly to keep animals safe.
- Go for a hike, ride a bike or walk somewhere when you can rather than using a car.
- Plant a tree every Earth Day.
- Use less electricity. During the day, if it is sunny, open the blinds and let the sunshine illuminate your home.
- Take cloth bags to the grocery store instead of using plastic bags.
- Have a picnic with friends or family at the park or beach.
- Carry your own water bottle around. Stainless steel drinking bottles won’t pollute the Earth.
- Be conscious of your energy use. Try doing some laundry at night when the costs of energy use is lower on your bill, as suggested by yourguidetogreen.com
- Switch out your normal household lightbulbs around the house to compact fluorescent ones.
- Shift your paper usage to recycled paper.
- Avoid facial washes with microbeads, as they can get into the water supply and damage fish and other wildlife, according to the Huffington Post.
- Pay bills online to save paper.
- Only run the dishwasher when it’s full and don’t hand-wash dishes as much.
- Don’t put glass in the trash can, as it takes millions of years to decompose, according to the Huffington Post.
- Set out a bird feeder or hummingbird feeder for your feathered friends.
- Recycle newspaper by using it as giftwrap. Recycling just the Sunday papers would save more than half a million trees every week.