By Colin Walker
On April 22, people from around the world come together to celebrate our 53rd annual Earth Day. This special day is dedicated to help spread awareness of climate change and other environmental issues around the globe.
The first Earth Day was officially held in 1970 when Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson originally proposed the idea. With the help of Denis Hayes, a young environmental activist, they formed a protest to fight for climate change.
A year earlier, a Union Oil Platform well which was drilled six miles off the coast of Santa Barbara, blew out. More than three million gallons of oil were spilled, killing more than ten thousand seabirds, dolphins, seals, and sea lions. As a reaction to this disaster, environmental activists like Nelson were inspired to make a change and stand up for the earth.
Both Nelson and Hayes were concerned with issues such as pollution and greenhouse gasses. Together, they created what is known to be one of the largest single day protests in human history, over 20 million people flooded the streets around the world, encouraging nations worldwide to reduce their carbon footprint.
Following Nelson and Hayes’ example, people from around the globe continue to spread awareness by volunteering to plant trees and pick up trash, and help make their communities a safer and cleaner place to live. Others may take shorter showers to conserve water. There are many ways people can positively contribute to their environment, even if they are small.
“Our goal is not just an environment of clean air and water and scenic beauty. The objective is an environment of decency, quality and mutual respect for all other human beings and all other living creatures,” Nelson said.
Humans are the largest contributing factors to our inevitable extinction, and we are only speeding up that fact. Nelson and others like him believe that we should not just help our earth because we need to, but because it is right. He wanted to inspire people from all ages to contribute to help make their community a better place to live.
One way you can help not only on this special day, but all year is to follow the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. You can reduce the amount of trash you create. For example, you can use silverware and reusable dishes instead of disposable plastic. You can buy a hydroflask to reuse instead of buying plastic water bottles. You can recycle by putting aluminum cans and plastic bottles in the recycling, so it can be turned into something else in the future.
This year, we are expected to have over a billion people take action to spread awareness towards climate change and its effects on the environment. It helps people know that conserving and recycling can go a long way when millions of people take action. It only takes a little bit of effort, but together we can reduce our climate crisis.