The origin of the day
The holiday was established almost 50 years ago, in 1970 in the USA. It is started with the idea of 2 people, in particular, John McConnell and Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson, who independently asked Americans to join in a grassroots demonstration in order to protest against negative impacts of massive industrial development during last 150 years. In the end, they were successful as around 20 million people supported their initiative and participated in the marches. That can be considered as a starting point for modern wide movement for environmental protection.
Afterwards, 20 years later in 1990, the movement went global by mobilizing 200 million people in more than 190 countries and putting environmental problems to the general public. Nowadays, Earth Day continues to be celebrated all around the world becoming one of the largest secular observances, which is getting together around 1 billion people from various countries. The major purpose of the celebration is to keep awareness of shared responsibility of our relations with the ecosystems that provide us life and sustenance, living in the harmony with the nature and promotion of the actions that can be taken in order to preserve our planet for the future generations.
Why it is important?
International Mother Earth Day, as it is officially called, provides an opportunity to raise public awareness around the world to the challenges regarding the well-being of the planet and all the life it supports. As the 50th anniversary of the Earth Day will be next year, it's time to approach the global challenge with full enthusiasm and commitment in order to create a new environmental paradigm. Earth Day 2020 can become a catalyst that provokes unprecedented global cooperation.
What are the aftermaths of human existence?
During the history of humanity, we have done activities that completely and forever changed the environment in an unprecedented way. We are the generation that is aware of the consequences of human’s behaviour and probably the last one that is able to implement something, or at least try as the global changes are visible with the naked eye. Above mentioned major consequences are air and water pollution, global warming, climate change, ocean acidification, and deforestation.
In regards to the last issue, I would give a tiny example of a huge fight between local activists and lobbies of big companies for rescuing the unique ancient Hambach forest (almost 12 000 years old). It is situated in western Germany (between Cologne and Aachen) and before the mining, it covered an area of 5 500 hectares, then has been reduced by 5 times. Now, the forest is at risk of disappearance because energy giant RWE continues its lignite mining on that territory.
Inhabitants from surrounding areas and from whole Germany are protesting during the last six years, some even living in tree houses to safe at least the remaining parts of the forest. The conflict is not only about the forest itself, but moreover about the climate, people’s health, resettlement, and about the issue what is more powerful right now: money or rationality? In my opinion, this is a great example of local resistance and fight for our safe planet!
What actions can we do?
Earth Day 2019 has the logo that stays for protection of our species. It includes endangered spices of animals and the plants as well. Sometimes we believe that a single human being cannot change anything, especially on the global scale, but it is not correct as every action counts, really valuable and appreciated. Here some inspiring ideas of what can you during Earth Day or throughout the year or whole life:
- Plant at least one tree or flower, especially wildflowers in your garden or in the local park in order to attract butterflies or native bees.
- Start to grow your own vegetables in the garden or in the pot.
- Preserve water and use it wisely for cleaning.
- Reduce plastic consumption or start to separate waste, if you are not doing it yet.
- Join the community to clean up the litter in a local park or another public area.
- Finally, go for the demonstration to keep more attention to the environmental problems of the world!
- If you are not so brave enough simple go native: wander in the closest forest, go for hiking in the mountains or taking the stroll in a park would be also an awesome idea.
To sum up, it is essential to point that Earth Day had reached into its current status of action that changes both human behaviour and environmental policies in some countries. Thus, I am convinced that if we are acting altogether in a common way, it can help to preserve our “Home” and leave it for the future generations in the “proper” condition.