SINCE 1970, Earth Day has been celebrated on 22nd April. The aim is to raise awareness and celebrate the protection of the planet through conservation work.
The day seeks to tackle environmental issues, including pollution and climate change.
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An estimated one billion people across more than 190 countries celebrate Earth Day.
History of Earth Day
Earth Day is reported to have been started by Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin after he saw the disastrous environmental effects of the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill.
The senator was so shocked that he decided to dedicate a day to the prevention of similar events in the future.
The first official Earth Day saw 20 million people in America take to the streets in protest of the polluting effects of industry.
That was approximately 10% of the US population at that time.
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Senator Nelson wanted to inject the enthusiasm of the student political voice, which was very outspoken against the Vietnam War at the time, into conservation efforts.
Hence, 22nd April was chosen as the event date because it fell between Spring Break and final exams, maximising the likelihood of student participation.
Earth Day 2023
Each year has a specific theme. However, in a break from tradition, the theme for 2023 – “Invest in Our Planet” – is the same as last year's theme.
It is hoped that it can act as a continuation of the successful 2022 campaign.
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The Earth Day website states that the aim is to build:
- a healthy economy
- an equitable future
- our only home
The theme can be practised by everyone: “Through civic actions and our day-to-day life choices, we have the power to lobby for and support the businesses who actively choose eco-friendly practices and climate-friendly investments. There is no time more vital than the present to take action and INVEST IN OUR PLANET!"
Some big events are organised, for instance, New York will host its annual Car-Free Earth Day on Saturday 22nd April between 10am and 3pm.
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London has lots of events as well, including organised community pick-ups.
What can you do?
It can feel overwhelming trying to think of a way to make an impact on a big issue, when you’re an individual.
However, the concept is to encourage lots of individual efforts, so that they add up to big changes.
For instance, you might want to plant a tree in honour of Earth Day.
That may only be one tree. However, cumulatively, Earth Day (and the Canopy Project) has inspired tens of millions of trees to be planted since 2010.
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Sun Bingo has some suggestions for other small but mighty changes:
- Be conscious of food miles by calculating your food print.
- Use reusable bags / bottles / cups.
- Switch to online billing, rather than receiving a hard copy.
- Switch to a vegetarian or vegan diet once or twice a week.
- Unsubscribe to catalogues – over 100 million trees are cut down each year to produce the paper for junk mail.
- Play bingo online – it’ll save paper!
Look out for Earth Day events near you on Saturday 22nd April 2023.
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