The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Happy Earth Day 2022! With Earth Month coming to a close, and climate change continuing to be a huge concern for people all over the globe, you may find yourself wondering why this holiday exists and what you can do to celebrate it. Luckily, there are many Earth Day initiatives that you and your community can participate in, some of which are listed here in this article. Here you will also find a brief history of the holiday so that you can better understand its purpose.
Earth Day began as solely an American movement in the late 1960s and early 70s. With the publishing of famous novel Silent Spring by Rachel Carson in 1962, Americans became more aware of the possible negative effects of air pollution to human and animal health. This, compounded with the witnessing of a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, CA in 1969, motivated Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson to organize a series of environmental teach-ins on college campuses. He was inspired by the student anti-war movement, and aimed to combine the spirit of that movement with the rise in public consciousness about air and water pollution. He partnered with Republican Congressman Pete McCloskey and activist Denis Hayes to organize the teach-ins. Together, the trio chose April 22nd as the date for the event, since it fell right between spring break and final exams thus encouraging the maximum level of student participation (“The History of Earth Day”).
Hayes continued to build up the movement, expanding his staff to include people all over the country. Earth Day 1970 was a political enigma, uniting Democrats and Republicans as millions of Americans from various colleges, organizations, and media groups took to the streets to protest the negative effects of industrial development. This unified effort led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which went on to pass the National Environmental Education Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and the Clean Air Act, among others. In 1990, Hayes and his team expanded the celebration of Earth Day to an international context, with many other countries mobilizing to improve and protect the environment. And recently, with the advancement of the internet and other technology, spreading the word about the holiday has been easier than ever (“The History of Earth Day”).
In terms of personal engagement, there are many ways to support the our planet on Earth Day, and throughout the year. The official Earth Day website has many activities listed, including a world map where you can search and find activities in your area. If you are part of an club that would like to help, you can partner with the official Earth Day organization to make a difference. All of these activities can be found here (“Invest in our Planet”).
Another site, earthdayinitiative.org, has even more ways for people to get involved, including an environmental podcast called Parts Per Million for those who want to be more informed about environmental issues (“Earth Day 2022”). These are just a fraction of the online resources out there, so if you are looking for something else to do, more options are just a Google search away! And even if you aren’t able to participate in these options, know that every personal effort that you put in towards being more environmentally friendly makes a difference.
Happy Earth Day 2022!
“Earth Day 2022.” Earthdayiniative.org, http://www.earthdayinitiative.org/. Accessed 22 April 2022.
“Invest in our Planet.” Earthday.org, 2022, https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-2022/. Accessed 22 April 2022.
“The History of Earth Day.” Earthday.org, https://www.earthday.org/history/. Accessed 21 April 2022.