On this day in 1970, Earth Day celebrations brought 20 million Americans to protest peacefully for environmental reform, and celebrations took place in two thousand colleges and universities, as well as across primary schools, secondary schools and communities. It has since grown into an annual celebration and campaign to spearhead activism with events in 193 countries, bringing environmental issues to the world stage.
Earth Day created a platform for real, practical change. The 1990 Earth Day boosted recycling efforts worldwide and helped to pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Earth Day 2016 was marked by the signing of the Paris Agreement and, in 2017, the Earth Day Network produced “toolkits” to aid organisations in educating others on Environmental and Climate Literacy.
This year, Earth Day focuses on ending plastic pollution. It will aim to support a global effort to stamp out single use plastics and create regulations on its disposal, as well as pushing for people to take personal responsibility for their own plastic consumption. The 8 million tonnes of plastic entering our oceans each year is having catastrophic effects on oceanic life and biodiversity, as well as our own health, and this push for stronger regulations can’t come fast enough. Earth Day reminds us that we have the power and responsibility to protect this Earth, and that we must stop treating it as if we have another one to go to.
"May there be only peaceful and cheerful Earth Days to come for our beautiful Spaceship
Earth as it continues to spin and circle in frigid space with its warm and fragile cargo of
- Proclamation signed by UN Secretary-General U Thant, 26th February 1971