Photo by Diane Terry
Each year — for 45 years now — on April 22 the world turns ‘green’ and celebrates Earth Day. Communities, schools, and even TV networks like NBC (who launched their Green is Universal campaign that is geared at reducing food waste) celebrate being environmentally conscious and host festivals, educational events, and hopefully instill a desire to “go green” beyond Earth Day. With all the excitement that Earth Day creates, it’s hard to believe that Earth Day has only been celebrated since 1970.
Earth Day was created by Senator Gaylord Nelson in hopes of sparking an environmental revolution around the U.S, and I would say he was successful. After the first Earth Day celebration, American’s attitude towards environmental issues changed, and in a big way.
In 1971, 25% of the U.S. declared that protecting the environment should be a national priority — that was a 2,500 percent increase from a poll taken in 1969. Earth Day has continued to gain traction and officially became a worldwide event in 1990 when over 200 million people in 140 different nations marked their calendars with Earth Day Celebrations, according to the Earth Day Network. Currently, over 1 billion people in 174 countries participate, making Earth Day the largest secular civil event around the world — from our local celebration “Earth Day Santa Cruz” all the way to Dubai’s “Plant for the Planet”, a celebration that will bring 100s of students together to plant Ghaf trees as part of a long term reforestation plan.
Senator Nelson, thank you for starting a worldwide movement and getting people to take a moment to appreciate the environment, even if it is only for a day. With over 1 billion people planting trees, rallying for clean air, and most importantly becoming educated about ways to be more environmentally conscious, Earth Day can hopefully leave a lasting impact on some to change their behavior and be more ‘green’ every day.
To check out Earth Day events at UCSC, check out College Eight’s Earth Week, with various events all centered around the theme Your Food, Your Plate, Your Impact.
P.S. The Gaia team will be at Friday’s Earth Summit! If you can’t make it, we’ll be live-tweeting the event, so click the little birdy logo on the right side of the site.