On April 22 of each year, citizens around the world unite to honor Earth Day. The day is dedicated to saving the planet through education about climate change, pollution, preservation and recycling.
History of Earth Day
Earth Day recently celebrated its 40th anniversary, quite an accomplishment considering its founder, Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson, spent the better part of a decade organizing the first one.
Earth Day began in 1970, at the height of political unrest and backlash from the Vietnam War. Although the two were not related, young people were looking for ways to help the planet instead of destroying it. More than 20 million people nationwide participated in the first Earth Day, and through public demonstrations were able to show support for a healthy environment in America. Eventually the movement grew, and by 1990 many countries around the world were participating in the annual event.
Earth Day has brought many changes to the U.S., including the inception of the Environmental Protection Agency and increased awareness about pollution reduction and recycling. Today, many American families practice some form of recycling that helps preserve the environment.
What can you do to acknowledge Earth Day? You may not feel as if you can make a difference, but many individuals working together in small ways can have a big impact.
Because the end of April is the start of planting season in many climates, consider planting a new tree or shrub in your yard. If you're more ambitious, think about planting vegetables for your family to eat during the summer months. Don't worry if you don't have a large garden space. Many vegetables can thrive in containers on a small patio or deck.
Reuse and recycle
Combine Earth Day with your spring cleaning and take some time to clean out your closets and garage. Consider donating unwanted items to a local charity. Take recycling items to your local recycling center. Pass along books and movies to a local library or shelter.
Clean up your community
Take spring cleaning one step further and help pick up litter and trash along roads, bridges and highways. Many local municipalities sponsor events around Earth Day to help clean up their communities. Join a local group to help beautify your neighborhood.
Earth Day is a day when people from all walks of life can work together in harmony to make the Earth a better place to live, now and in the future.