The year 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the beloved Earth Day, thanks to Senator Gaylord Nelson and a young activist named Denis Hayes. Earth Day began as a teach-in on college campuses covering the topics of air and water pollution, following a devastating oil spill in Santa Barbara, California.
Earth Day is not just a day to spend a little more time outdoors. This day has helped bring about some of the most critical environmental regulation policies that are used today, such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Air Act.
Political issues tend to cause walls to be created between opposing sides, but Earth Day is unique in the fact it’s very much an exception to this rule, as it gained support from both Democrats and Republicans alike. Though the exact means of how to protect the globe are heavily debated, the end goal is the same.
Beginning in the United States, Earth day has since spread its wings and is now celebrated on April 22 around the globe, with a different theme every year. This year’s theme “climate action” is ironic considering the current Covid-19 pandemic, and many of the activities have been moved online. This time of quarantine and social distancing has allowed the Earth to be displayed in a new way, with fewer cars on the road and more time to “smell the roses”.
During this global health emergency, there have been drastic drops in emissions world wide, though clearly this drop will not sustain itself when the pandemic has cleared. That said, this time has offered people the chance to think about different ways they can do their part to help the Earth. Some families have turned to planting their own vegetable gardens, or riding bikes to get places, all of which make a difference if there are enough people doing their part.