Earth Day: from a common manís perspective

Dr. S. S. VERMA; Department of Physics, S.L.I.E.T., Longowal; Distt.-Sangrur (Punjab)-148 106

2023-04-12 11:20:18

Credit: pixabay.com

Credit: pixabay.com

The earth is a unique solar system planet because; conditions favorable to supporting life are only to be found on earth. The earth is neither too hot nor too cold. There are water and air in it, which are very important for our survival.

The earth provides us with everything we need to grow food and live healthy lives, in the form of natural resources. These resources are land, water, animals and plants. It provides us with oxygen to breathe, water to drink, and food to eat. Our reliance on the earth also means that we're always connected and one with the earth; remembering that we're dependent on the simple things like air, water,

and soil can be very grounding. Protecting our environment is the foundation for sustaining our planet, community and economy. Our environment supports and houses our ecosystems, allowing them to grow and thrive. If we fail to protect our environment, we will put the lives of humans, animals, plants and more at risk.

Earth Day is an annual event on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection and celebration that honors the achievements of the environmental movement and raises awareness of the need to protect Earths natural resources for future generations. Earth Day draws attention to the issues like global warming and the depletion of natural resources. The significance of environmental protection for human survival is highlighted by World Earth Day. Oceans and land on earth provide a home for numerous animals and we must save this planet. At present, Earth day is coordinated globally by EARTHDAY.ORG (formerly Earth Day Network) including 1 billion people in more than 193 countries. The official theme for Earth Day 2023 is “Invest In Our Planet”.

Origin of the movement

Senator Gaylord Nelson, the junior senator from Wisconsin, had long been concerned about the deteriorating environment in the United States.  Then in January 1969, he and many others witnessed the ravages of a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California.  Inspired by the student anti-war movement, Senator Nelson wanted to infuse the energy of student anti-war protests with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution. Senator Nelson announced the idea for a teach-in on college campuses to the national media, and persuaded Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman, to serve as his co-chair.  They recruited Denis Hayes, a young activist, to organize the campus teach-ins and they choose April 22, a weekday falling between Spring Break and Final Exams, to maximize the greatest student participation. 

Recognizing its potential to inspire all Americans, Hayes built a national staff of 85 to promote events across the land and the effort soon broadened to include a wide range of organizations, faith groups, and others.  They changed the name to Earth Day, which immediately sparked national media attention, and caught on across the country.  Earth Day inspired 20 million Americans — at the time, 10% of the total population of the United States — to take to the streets, parks and auditoriums to demonstrate against the impacts of 150 years of industrial development which had left a growing legacy of serious human health impacts. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment and there were massive coast-to-coast rallies in cities, towns, and communities.

Groups that had been fighting individually against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness and the extinction of wildlife united on Earth Day around these shared common values. Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, urban dwellers and farmers, business and labor leaders. By the end of 1970, the first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of other first of their kind environmental laws, including the National Environmental Education Act,  the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and the Clean Air Act.  Two years later Congress passed the Clean Water Act.  A year after that, Congress passed the Endangered Species Act and soon after the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. These laws have protected millions of men, women and children from disease and death and have protected hundreds of species from extinction.

The first Earth day in 1970

The first Earth day in 1970 mobilized millions of Americans from all walks of life, giving birth to a broad new movement to protect the planet. On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans — 10% of the U.S. population at the time — took to streets, college campuses and hundreds of cities to protest environmental ignorance and demand a new way forward. The first Earth Day is credited with launching the modern environmental movement.  Earth Day is now recognized as the planet’s largest civic event each year.

As 1990 approached, a group of environmental leaders approached Denis Hayes to once again organize another major campaign for the planet. This time, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. Earth Day 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. It also prompted President Bill Clinton to award Senator Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom — the highest honor given to civilians in the United States — for his role as Earth Day founder.

Earth Day for a new millennium

As the millennium approached, Hayes agreed to spearhead another campaign, this time focused on global warming and a push for clean energy. With 5,000 environmental groups in a record 184 countries reaching out to hundreds of millions of people, Earth Day 2000 built both global and local conversations, leveraging the power of the Internet to organize activists around the world, while also featuring a drum chain that traveled from village to village in Gabon, Africa. Hundreds of thousands of people also gathered on the National Mall in Washington, DC for a First Amendment Rally. 30 years on, Earth Day 2000 sent world leaders a loud and clear message: Citizens around the world wanted quick and decisive action on global warming and clean energy.

EARTH DAY 2010

As in 1970, Earth Day 2010 came at a time of great challenge for the environmental community to combat the cynicism of climate change deniers, well-funded oil lobbyists, reticent politicians, a disinterested public, and a divided environmental community with the collective power of global environmental activism. In the face of these challenges, Earth Day prevailed and EARTHDAY.ORG reestablished Earth Day as a major moment for global action for the environment. Over the decades, EARTHDAY.ORG has brought hundreds of millions of people into the environmental movement, creating opportunities for civic engagement and volunteerism in 193 countries.  Earth Day engages more than 1 billion people every year and has become a major stepping stone along the pathway of engagement around the protection of the planet. 

EARTH DAY TODAY

Today, Earth Day is widely recognized as the largest secular observance in the world, marked by more than a billion people every year as a day of action to change human behavior and create global, national and local policy changes. Now, the fight for a clean environment continues with increasing urgency, as the ravages of climate change become more and more apparent every day. As the awareness of our climate crisis grows, so does civil society mobilization, which is reaching a fever pitch across the globe today. Disillusioned by the low level of ambition following the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015 and frustrated with international environmental lethargy, citizens of the world are rising up to demand far greater action for our planet and its people. 

Some important outcomes of Erath Day campaign:

  • Landmark environmental laws
  • Education & environmental literacy
  • Civic & personal engagement
  • Conservation & restoration
  • Research & science

Importance of Earth Day

It draws attention to the environment and promotes conservation and sustainability. Each year on 22 April, around 1 billion individuals across more than 190 countries take action to raise awareness of the climate crisis and bring about behavioral change to protect the environment.

Simple Things to Do to Celebrate Earth Day

  • To understand the need of Earth Day
  • Plant a tree
  • Ride your bike
  • Let your voice be heard
  • Make a Water Conservation Plan
  • Buy reusable bags
  • Use a refillable water bottle
  • Get produce from a local farmer's market
  • Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Cut down on what you throw away
  • Volunteer. Volunteer for cleanups in your community
  • Educate yourself and then others about the importance of Earth day
  • Shop wisely
  • Use long-lasting and efficient electric appliances