In case you didn’t know, this Sunday (April 22) is Earth Day! This worldwide initiative is the world’s largest environmental movement. Each year, the Earth Day Network (the organization behind the movement) chooses a specific environmental focus to spotlight as the main focus of the global campaign efforts. This year that focus is setting its site on growing awareness of plastic pollution and providing actionable steps to banning plastic pollution across the globe.
Anyone that wants to learn more about this year’s Earth Day initiatives can find more information on their website. Earth Day continues to grow in size, impact, and audience, but how did it all begin?
1970’s: The Start of a Movement
Earth Day actually started as “Earth Days” with two inaugural events separately planned by two different activist in 1907. San Francisco activist John McConnell and Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson led the charge to organize Earth Day in the US as a grassroots movement.
McConnel chose March 21 as his Earth Day (coinciding with the Spring Equinox)
Nelson opted for April 22.
Today we continue to honor Earth Day on April 22.
Earth Day is credited with building and launching the environmental decade and was an important force behind passing some of the most important pieces of environmental legislation including:
- Clean Air Act
- The Endangered Species Act
- The Toxic Substances Control Act
And a whole host of other laws passed during the ‘70’s through today.
Why April 22?
The date may seem arbitrary, but we promise there is a rationale behind it. Nelson rallied and organized college students and universities to help launch Earth Day. As such, he wanted a date that wasn’t close to any exams or breaks. Additionally, he wanted to ensure there weren’t any Holiday celebrations to consider. April 22 was found to be a perfect choice.
Fun fact: April 22 was also the birthday of Vladimir Lenin. A fact that caused some to question whether Earth Day had ties to communism and the USSR. A notion that has been dismissed and rebutted repeatedly.
From Local to Global
Earth Day continued to grow in the US during the 70’s and 80’s. In 1990, Earth Day went global. Over 200 million people in more than 140 nations came together to participate. Today, more than 1 billion people are involved in Earth Day activities, making it “the largest secular civic event in the world.”
How to Get Involved?
There are hundreds of ways that you can get involved in this year’s Earth Day initiatives. If organized events aren’t your thing, feel free to honor Earth Day in the way that best suits your style. Take a walk, plant some flowers, pick up some litter, your actions don’t have to be grandiose to make a difference.
For those that want to get involved with other eco-conscious individuals, check your local city calendars for organized events. Facebook can also be a source of events. If you’re feeling particularly motivated, you can even sign up with the Earth Day Network to host your own event using Toolkits and Resources provided by EarthDay.org.
Whether you join thousands in an organized march or choose to celebrate Earth Day by planting flowers in your yard, take time this Sunday to reflect on the amazing planet Earth that we call home. At EcoPro, we believe in practicing sustainable business practices. We’re honored to be able to work with hundreds of physical therapy clinics nationwide to assist with reducing their carbon footprint. Together we’re all making the world a greener place.