Awareness today saves the planet tomorrow

Earth Day – April 22

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

As pollution, global warming, and climate change drastically increases, it is now more important than ever to care for our planet.

Dulce Bernal Ortiz , Staff writer

Earth Day is an international event celebrated annually on April 22. It is a day to advocate for environmental protection, as well as raise awareness on the actions that harm our planet. But how did the idea of celebrating the Earth even start? Whose idea was it and why?

To give context on this question, let’s go back a few decades before the first Earth Day occurred. Back then, many Americans were living in an unsustainable manner. They were consuming vast amounts of leaded gas, emitted by inefficient automobiles. To add to the problems, industries emitted smoke and sludge, with no fear of consequences whatsoever. Industries’ ideal was so vastly different that they considered air pollution the smell of prosperity or necessary for success.

Americans had little awareness of environmental issues and how pollution could damage the Earth until the novel Silent Spring by Rachel Carson was released in 1962. It helped raise public concern for the environment, living organisms, and the connection between pollution and public health, and was considered a step forward as a society.

In 1969, the idea of an Earth Day started at a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Science and Cultural Organization) conference that was held in San Francisco. Peace activist John McConnell proposed the idea of a day dedicated to honoring the Earth, and the concept of peace, on the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere. A month later, US Senator Gaylord Nelson proposed the idea to hold an environmental “teach-in” on April 22, 1970, and hired Denis Hayes, a young activist, to be the National Coordinator. They decided to name said event “Earth Day” and expand it from just a teach-in to include the whole country’s participation.

The first Earth Day was considered the largest single-day protest in human history, with 20 million people out on the streets. In 1990, Denis Hayes, the original coordinator, made this day international and organized events in 141 nations.

The effect that Earth Day has had is long-lasting and can continue with each successive generation. To celebrate Earth Day, you can take part in many activities that support and help our planet, like picking up litter from the ground, planting trees, or creating campaigns on living sustainably, but you shouldn’t just take care of and celebrate the Earth just one day, you should do it every day. This planet is the only home we have, and if we don’t do anything, no one will. It is up to us to take action now, or never.