Happy Earth Day!
This week, we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Even after 50 years, Earth Day is more important than ever. Earth Day symbolizes a global desire to protect the planet and inspires thousands of actions – big and small – every year. Importantly, Earth Day serves as a reminder that collective action can make a difference.
50 Years of Earth Day
Following the Santa Barbara oil spill in 1969, U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson joined forces with Denis Hayes, and other environmental activists to create a day dedicated to environmental stewardship. The first Earth Day included 20 million people across the country in peaceful demonstrations and actions for the environment. The event saw the creation of the recycling symbol; moreover, Earth Day sparked large-scale action to clean up pollution, protect wildlife, and, eventually, fight climate change.
The first Earth Day sent a signal to the U.S. government, demanding direct action to protect the planet. As a result of the demonstrations, the United States had the momentum and support needed to create the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Shortly thereafter, the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act were passed to empower the EPA with key protections for the environment.
With billions of participants celebrating every year by holding garbage clean ups, tree planting, and other volunteer efforts, Earth Day is one of the most significant days of environmental action.
And these efforts are more important than ever. We know that the health of the planet and the health of our communities are inter-connected.
In 2020, climate action is society’s preeminent environmental issue and is the theme that the Earth Day Network dedicated to the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day.
“The enormous challenge — but also the vast opportunities — of action on climate change have distinguished the issue as the most pressing topic for the 50th anniversary. Climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world habitable.”The Earth Day Network on the theme for Earth Day 2020.
Indeed, the impacts of climate change– on vulnerable populations, on infrastructure and institutions, on disease vectors, on food availability & access, on public health, on the financial system — are wide-ranging and not dissimilar from what is happening now with the coronavirus pandemic. This is scary, but the good news is that we are showing how quickly we can mobilize to take action! And that too is one of the lessons from the first Earth Day 50 years ago today.
Earth Day in Action
Although COVID-19 has caused us to change our plans by canceling in-person events and postponing large community actions, the pandemic has made us all realize the importance of collective action in times of crisis. Our response to COVID-19 can empower us to use the same energy and motivation in the face of the climate crisis.
As a community, we are working together to flatten the curve by staying home. However, COVID-19 doesn’t stop us from taking actions at home to protect the planet.
The Utah Sustainable Businesses Coalition Earth Day Panel
SLCgreen Director Vicki Bennett will be joining panelists including Lt. Governor Spencer Cox and Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, to discuss the similarities between the COVID-19 crisis and the climate crisis. The actions taken by local businesses, governments, and nonprofits during COVID-19 can help us learn about resiliency and how to direct action to fight climate change.
Earth Day Trivia, noon
Kiitos Brewing, Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment and the Factory Farming Awareness Coalition (FFAC) are hosting virtual Earth Day Trivia on Facebook.
Join in the fun and get a chance to win fantastic prizes on Wednesday, April 22, at 12pm.
Be Part of Earth Day Live
If you’ve been wanting to show your support for the youth-led climate strikes, now is the time. This year, these climate organizations are working around the world to participate in Earth Day Live, a 3-day online mobilization effort to encourage individuals and organizations to act on climate.
In Utah, the People’s Energy Movement, consisting of many environmentally-focused organizations, will be hosting the local events for Earth Day Live. Events include strikes, workshops, and even some more light-hearted ways to engage the whole family in climate education and activism (it involves sidewalk chalk!!).
Your Sustainable Actions!
We asked our SLCgreen community to send in pictures of their Earth Day actions and all the ways that they are celebrating the planet! Check out the gallery below!
More Ways to Celebrate Earth Day, Every Day
Earth Day is our favorite day of the year! If you’re looking for more ways to turn every day into Earth Day, check out some of our nifty guides to sustainable actions you can start taking:
- 8 Ways to Go Green from Home!
- A day-by-day guide to making the most of Earth Week
- An Earth Day Sustainable Action List
- Ways you can eat locally and help local farmers during the pandemic
Happy Earth Day from SLCgreen!
There are many ways to commemorate our planet for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Whether you take a small action at home, get involved in a larger call for change, or get inspired by attending an event or two, we wish you a very energizing Earth Day!