Earth Day, once seen as an idealistic notion of the tree-hugging sect, is now a globally recognizable effort to mobilize people into environmental action. Founded by United States Sen. Gaylord Nelson and first observed on April 22, 1970, Earth Day is said to mark the beginning of the modern environmental movement. Each year on April 22nd, it is celebrated around the world in 175 countries by an estimated 500+ million people. Earth Day today is, in part, a massive global effort coordinated by the Earth Day Network to create and engage in activities to help us to better understand and respect our Earth’s natural environment.
Back when it was first celebrated, the day’s most topical environmental issues were at the forefront of the event. Students protesting everything from nuclear power to air pollution to deforestation latched on to the Earth Day movement and message. As our key environmental issues continue to change and evolve, so does Earth Day. This Earth Day the message is simple—think globally, act locally.
So, how can you participate locally? You can start by finding one of several Earth Day activities going on in your area. Check out the Billion Acts of Green site put out by the Earth Day Network. It lists thousands of local and national Earth Day activities for your pleasure. Everything from park and community clean-up days to full-scale festivals with eco-friendly fare and a variety of green demonstrations can be found on this site. You can be eco-conscious today without even leaving your house. If you can click a link, and sign a petition, you can be a part of it. If getting out and about is more your speed, here are a few local events going on. Click the links below for times, locations, and more information.
Schuylkill River Trail Earth Day Cleanup
Adventure Aquarium’s Earth Day Celebration
Washington Twp. (New Jersey) Earth Day activities
Sustainable Cherry Hill Earth Festival
Temple Ambler’s Earth Fest
Naturepalooza Family Earth Day Festival Philadelphia
Whether it’s organized events or simple things you can do at home, like switching out a few regular lightbulbs for CFC‘s or Freecycling some of that clutter you’re no longer using, Earth Day is a perfect time to implement a few small changes that can make a big impact. Take a walk or ride your bike on your next local errand. You don’t have to be an environmental activist to enjoy engaging in some Earth Day festivities. It is a great time to simply get out and enjoy nature if that is more your thing. It’s a great time to create a dialogue with your children and grandchildren about the simple aspects of caring for the Earth— the things that almost everyone can agree on, such as not littering, recycling, and respecting nature.
Simply put, Earth Day reminds us that we all share the same planet. It serves as a much-needed reminder that we should all be taking responsibility for what we use and how we use it. It is a day to think of the environmental challenges we face and how to solve them. It reminds us that protecting our Earth is every person’s and every country’s responsibility. It reminds us that when it comes to the environment, and the world in which we live, we rise together and we fall together. We sink or we swim together. We are truly one, unified.