Every year, Earth Day falls on April 22. To celebrate and spread awareness of sustainability, the Augie Green club partnered with other clubs on campus to celebrate Earth Week with different activities each day, including a discussion on whitewashing sustainability, beehive decorating, plant potting, a campus cleanup and soap decorating. With all this activity, how and why did Earth Day begin?
The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970. The knowledge that the public had on how society impacted the environment at that time was minimal compared to what we know today, as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act had not been introduced. Due to the lack of care regarding the immense amount of air pollution in cities around the nation, Sen. Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin decided to create a student-wide movement to promote the issues involving the care of the earth at hand, according to an EPA article. This issue helped authorize the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in December 1970.
In 1990, Earth Day became a worldwide event, with more than 200 million people in 141 countries participating, according to earthday.org. Recycling efforts became more prominent around the world and in 1992 the Earth Summit conference held by the United Nations took place in Rio De Janeiro.
As Earth Day is celebrated every year, it has helped pave the way for sustainable goals and progess movements as people across the globe are itching for a change in how we treat the Earth.
Earth Day is an important event to start addressing worldwide issues. There are many ways to get involved in Earth Day activities. This past Earth Day, Sioux Falls had a series of events including the annual Big Sioux River Greenway Cleanup, food donations at the Empire Mall and eco-friendly games, snacks and crafts held by the organization Feeding South Dakota.
But has Earth Day really impacted the health of the environment today, or is it just a fun way for communities to get together each year? This year, the United Nations gave a list of ways this organization currently works toward healing the planet:
The non-governmental organization Green Forests Work restores land that has been affected by surface coal mining. Land that has been surface mined usually is converted into grassland.
Green Forests Work has already planted around 4 million native trees across more than 6,000 acres. This has restored the ecosystems surrounding these areas.
The organization Gondwana Link restores natural habitats that have been separated due to human activity. This organization works to restore millions of acres of land. These habitats reconnect native species that were once under threat.
Fragments of Hope is an organization restoring coral reefs by planting corals that are more resilient and diverse. These coral fragments planted in Southern Belize are successful, with over 49,000 thriving in Laughing Bird Caye National Park.
These are just a few of the organizations and success stories that positively impact the planet. The U.N. said its Decade on Ecosystem Restoration has more than 50 projects registered and thousands of groups and organizations working hard to clean up human mess.
The impacts of Earth Day are huge. As Earth Day comes and goes each year, the support and effort people work on toward sustainability is evident. It goes to show that an idea put in place can go a long way. We can make Earth Day every day through the choices we make.