Earth Day is celebrated internationally on April 22. It is a day to educate people about the issues affecting the planet and to raise awareness for and celebrate the efforts in place to protect the environment.
As a global observance, it sometimes extends to a week-long celebration, aptly named Earth Week, and the celebrations are coordinated by the Earth Day Network across 193 countries.
It is not a public holiday, so businesses and schools remain open.
History of Earth Day
It wasn’t until the 1960s, after the publication of a book called Silent Spring, that the effects of pollution on the planet were brought to the attention of the American public. In those times, planet protection was not a priority for the government and politicians, and there weren’t many activists dedicated to raising awareness about these issues. In fact, the biggest pollutants of the time, factories and cars, were considered symbols of wealth and therefore not regarded as dangerous. At the same time, not many people knew about recycling.
When Senator Gaylord Nelson was elected in 1962 he was the one that brought environmental issues to the forefront with the government. Inspired by the Anti-Vietnam War teach-ins he developed the idea for Earth Day in 1969, a day to be observed across the country with the intention of pushing environmental issues into the political agenda of the time.
The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970, with rallies and demonstrations happening in Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, and several other American cities. The day was very successful in raising awareness about the risks that the planet faced, and after a survey, it was determined that 25% of Americans now considered the protection of the planet to be a priority.
In 1990 Earth Day became an international celebration, with over 140 countries taking part in observing it that year.
Some people choose to celebrate Earth Day on the day of the March Equinox, usually around March 20.
Observing Earth Day
Usually on this day schools and environmental agencies will organize events and activities that aim to protect the planet, such as planting trees, picking up trash on roads, beaches, and parks as well as promoting the benefits of recycling.
As this is a day to bring awareness to the necessity of protecting the planet, many people will sign petitions directed at governments about the emergency of acting against global warming and the destruction of the planet.