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On April 22, 2022, over a billion people worldwide will celebrate the 52nd anniversary of Earth Day. The modern environmental movement began on April 22, 1970, when US lawmaker Gaylord Nelson mobilized more than 20 million people to demonstrate support for environmental protection. The Earth Day Network (EDN), which now boasts over 50,000 partners in over 190 countries, has led to the passage of landmark environmental laws both in the United States (US) and globally.
They include the Clean Water Act of 1972 and the Endangered Species Act of 1973 in the US, and the Paris Agreement on climate change signed by 193 Parties ( 192 countries plus the European Union) on April 22, 2016. While the various legislative changes have helped, a lot more needs to be done to reverse the impact of human behavior on the environment.
Kathleen Rogers, President of EDN, says this year’s theme — Invest in Our Planet — adds two additional urgent priorities to past campaigns: “The first is to save ourselves from the climate crisis, and the second is to build new green economies in every country so that everyone can share in the benefits from this green revolution. This will only be done if we invest in our planet’s future together."
By "we," Rogers is encouraging everyone — governments, businesses, and citizens — to collectively take action. World leaders can be at the forefront of the change by passing legislation to protect and restore our ecosystems, reduce the use of fossil fuels, and promote the development and use of green energy.
Businesses have immense potential to help reverse global warming. For example, clothing manufacturers can choose fabrics from organic or natural sources or those made from upcycled or recycled materials. Restaurants can do their part by seeking out sustainable food sources.
While it may not seem like it, individuals have tremendous power in instigating change. Even something as simple as writing a letter to local government officials or a business leader can help. One of the reasons why Senator Nelson was urged into taking action in 1970 was the pleas he received from children, most aged between 8 and ten.
We can also help the planet through our daily actions. Pick an everyday item, such as shoes, and make it a goal to buy your next pair from a sustainable business — one that uses recyclable materials or donates a portion of its profit to environmental organizations. Even small steps, such as turning off lights and devices when not in use, biking to school instead of driving, and using reusable water bottles and lunch boxes can make a big difference.
How will you "Invest in Our Planet" on Earth Day — and every day?
Happy Earth Day!
Resources: earthday.org,epa.org, nrdc.org, hbr.org