Celebrating Earth Day this April

By Eatha Lynch on April 18, 2022

On April 22, 2022, people around the United States will be celebrating Earth Day. Celebrations range from organized trash clean-ups to tree planting, while these are amazing ways to clean up the environment around you, it is important to ask yourself what the purpose of celebrating Earth Day really is. This article will highlight the history of Earth Day, the importance this holiday holds in modern times, and how college students across the nation can celebrate this Earth Day.

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History of Earth Day:

After World War II, America saw an exponential economic boom that thrust the entire nation forward. Many luxuries (i.e. owning multiple cars per family, eating in restaurants rather than cooking, etc.) became far more accessible to the general American citizen than ever before, however, while the quality of human life improved the quality of the environment they lived in became littered with human waste, pollution, and carbon emissions.

In the early 1960s, people began to take notice of these detrimental effects of mass human consumption, but it was not until 1969 that Senator Gaylord Nelson made the decision to stand up for the betterment of the world. Nelson arranged for a “teach-in” on college campuses across the country to encourage students to stand up for the climate; this teach-in was scheduled for April 22, 1970

This teach-in became widely broadcast and Nelson hired a team of 85 officials to help him organize it. The event was named “Earth Day” and it quickly gained momentum across the country. This first year of celebrating Earth Day only included about 10% of the American adult population, but the seeds it had sown were evident.  By the end of 1970, the first environmental protection laws went into effect while the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was being founded. These advancements in environmental protection stem directly from that first Earth Day in 1970 led by Senator Nelson.

Why does Earth Day matter? 

Earth day is not a holiday that anybody would claim is their favorite—there are no gifts, no important meals or games going on, and not many traditions to carry on. But Earth Day is incredibly important in bringing awareness to the current climate crises we are facing, not as Americans but as human beings.

Having a holiday that focuses on environmental protection is increasingly important. As climate change worsens, the days that we spend paying attention to the changes occurring in the world become more critical. While Earth Day may not be the most “fun” holiday, it is one of the most important as it opens up an avenue for education and discussion about the state of our world.

Typically, Earth Day is a day in which people try to give back or be outside; some people start their spring cleaning, others will go outside and start a garden, and while there are no directions for celebrating Earth Day, I am going to give you a few suggestions for how you should spend your time on April 22, 2022.

  • (www.pexels.com)

    Go outside! You cannot truly appreciate the environment without immersing yourself in it. Read a book in your favorite spot on campus, walk down some paths you have never taken before, or just sit on a bench and enjoy the world around you

  • Participate in a group event. If you feel comfortable enough to go out with a group of people, find an environmental awareness group near you! If you look into your school’s programs, there may even be resources on campus that would allow you to get outside and put in some work!
  • Educate yourself. This is without a doubt the most important advice I can give you. Research current climate change, look up local and state legislation regarding environmental protection, and investigate what policies your own school has implemented. Knowing the state of climate action allows you to make well-educated decisions and claims for the future.
  • Lastly, be conscious—not just on Earth Day, but always! Make an effort to stay educated about the environmental legislation being passed, hold large-scale corporations accountable, and strive for political change, because, while monitoring and decreasing your own consumption rates is important, it is large businesses and monopolies that are damaging the Earth in far more substantial ways.

Ultimately, celebrating Earth Day is about self-education and a commitment to being more conscious about the environment you occupy. There are many ways in which you can get involved in your community to celebrate and many resources out there to educate yourself with! If you are interested in learning more about the past significance of Earth Day, visit the following website: https://www.earthday.org/history/.

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