Every April 22 around the globe people celebrate the birth and anniversary of a modern environmental movement that started back in 1970. On April 22, 48 years ago people took to the streets around the United States in order to demonstrate and raise awareness about the deterioration of the environment and the negative impact the 150 years of industrialization had on mother earth.
This particular event united 20 million people of different social and political categories and it was that one time when democrats and republicans, rich and poor, students, workers and environmental groups realized they are united when the wellbeing of the planet is endangered. The common values were a war-act against wildlife extinction, oil spills, power plants, and polluting factories, toxic dumps, loss of wilderness etc. Denis Hayes from Harvard had the role of national coordinator and was appointed by Senator Nelson. He and his staff of 85 individuals promoted the events across the country prior to the selected date.
The same year and a few months later, the first International Mother Earth Day led to the creation of EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) in the United States and made a passage for Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.
It took 20 years for the environmental leaders around the globe to approach Denis Hayes and together organize another big campaign. This time the Mother Earth Day went global and mobilized 200 million people on the streets in exactly 141 countries paving the way for the UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) in 1992. The event boosted recycling movements and efforts worldwide even more. In 1995 Senator Nelson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1995 for the role of founder of Earth Day.
Focusing on global warming as a serious issue concerning humans, animals, and the general environment in 2000 Hayes along with 5.000 environment activists organized another, even larger campaign that reached hundreds of millions of people in 184 countries. This is the first time the internet was used as a media tool for promoting. At the beginning of the millennium, a loud and clear message was sent to the world leaders that quick actions are required to deal with global warming and the usage of clean energy.
Earth Day in 2010 experienced difficulties due to greatly-funded oil lobbyists, a disinterested public, and climate-change deniers. Still, it managed to prevail as a relevant and powerful voice for Mother Earth. Around this time ‘A Billion Acts of Green’ was initiated as an environmental service project that grew to become ‘The Canopy Project’ with partners in 192 countries in the world.
The General Assembly of the UN designated April 22 as the International Mother Earth day in 2009 through A/RES/63/278 resolution. The main goal is achieving persistent balance among social, economic and environmental needs, for present and future generations.
International Mother Earth Day is a global event when more than 1 billion people from 192 countries in the world take an active environmental role. April 22 is a day of civic participation and political action. The many involved plant trees, clean up their cities and roads, meet official government representatives, organize protests and sign petitions. On the other hand, official institutions, governments, and corporations announce sustainability measures and make pledges for greener future. World faith leaders use International Mother Earth Day to send powerful messages that we must protect the biodiversity we were gifted with.
Earth Day Network announced that this year’s Earth Day will put the main focus on ending plastic pollution and initiating a global effort to once and for all end the single-use plastic products. The organization will use the opportunity to educate millions of people regarding the health risks connected with plastic disposal. The health risk doesn’t only concern marine animals and wildlife, but human health as well.
We are all aware that we experience a ubiquitous presence of plastic fragments in the food and the water we consume daily. This phenomenon has been linked to serious hormonal diseases, early puberty, and other life-threatening conditions.
End Plastic Pollution campaign will present its 4-major component:
- Initiating and leading the movement that will support adoption of a global framework that regulates plastic pollution
- Actively educating and working with common citizens which have the power to demand proper control and plastic pollution cleanup from their governments and corporations
- Implementing 4R (reject, reduce, reuse, recycle plastic) by teaching and promoting personal responsibility to the general public
- Promoting government regulations and actions to minimize plastic pollution on local scales
How to celebrate International Mother Earth Day?
Here are few suggestions on how to celebrate International Mother Earth Day and honor the planet you live on. Of course, these activities shouldn’t end with this particular celebration day and may and should be part of your daily routine.
- Forget about your car for a day! Ride your bike, walk or carpool when commuting
- Plant a tree, or plant ten. Nothing contributes more to clean air than the plants
- Switch every possible billing system to e-bills
- Update the light-bulbs at home with environmentally friendly ones that save energy and money
- Join a local environmental group and join the activities they are doing
- Think a bit about recycling! You can contact the nearest waste management company and ask whether they can provide you with a recycling bin to separate glass, paper, and plastic.
- Start washing your dishes using a dishwasher and run it only when the device is full.
- Pick some old clothes you don’t need anymore and donate them to the ones in need. This also goes for any household item still working properly that you don’t use anymore.
- Get a compost bin where you will put the organic by-product and later use them as a natural fertilizer.
If you can think of any other idea on how to celebrate Earth Day and make the planet a better place to live for all, feel free to share in comments!
Happy International Mother Earth Day!