Each April 22nd the world honors International Mother Earth Day. This year is exceptional for two reasons. Earth Day 2020 is the 50th Anniversary of the celebration and we are keeping our distance at home, but taking action for our planet during the ongoing fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
is no Planet B
the first Earth Day 50 years ago in 1970, an estimated 20 million people across
the U.S took to the streets on behalf of the environment. This kicked off a
worldwide effort. In less than six years, the U.S. Congress had created some of
the most consequential environmental legislation to date and those efforts continued
for several more years to protect the American and its impacts on the world.
- Environmental Protection Agency
- Clean Air Act (1970)
- Clean Water Act (1972) amended 2000
to include Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health Act
- Marine Mammal Protection Act (1972)
- Safe Drinking Water Act (1974)
- Toxic Substances Control Act (1976)
Day 2020: What to Watch on Event’s 50th Anniversary
Although Earth Day still has its
detractors, organizers expect more than a billion people to observe the event –
a far cry from the movement’s grassroots beginnings in 1970.
Today, the Earth Day Network (EDN)
collaborates with more than 17,000 partners and organizations in 174 countries.
According to EDN, more than 1 billion people are involved in Earth Day
activities, making it “the largest secular civic event in the world.”
Since its beginnings 50 years ago,
the Earth Day movement has seen significant growth.
- 1990, Earth Day went global, with 200 million people in over 140 nations participating.
- 2000, Earth Day focused on clean energy and involved hundreds of millions of people in 184 countries and 5,000 environmental groups.
- 2009, Earth Day was renamed officially by the UN in 2009 as International Mother Earth Day.
- 2009, Disney released a documentary film called Earth that followed the migration paths of four animal families
- 2011, 28 million trees were planted in Afghanistan by the Earth Day Network
- 2012, more than 100,000 people rode bikes in China to reduce CO2 emissions and save fuel.
- 2015, the largest beach cleanup in the world, with more than 1,000 volunteers began in Mumbai, India, and over 21 months, approximately 5,300,000 kilograms of decomposing trash and plastic were collected.
- 2015, United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) led to the signing of the Paris Agreement.
- 2016, India set a world record by planting over 49 million tree saplings as part of an initiative to their commitment to the Paris Agreement – reforesting 12% of its total land and improving air quality.
- 2018, the Australian government committed an investment of $500M Australian to protect the Great Barrier Reef from climate change.
- 2018, Canada implemented Microbeads in Toiletries Regulations, which prohibits the manufacture, import, and sale of most toiletry products that contain microbeads.
- 2019, Ethiopia planted more than 350 million trees in a single day – repopulated areas for better management of drought and fighting climate change.
- 2019, a new law in the Philippines went into effect requiring all students to plant at least 10 trees before they can graduate.
- 2019, Greta Thunberg became the youngest Time magazine’s Person of the Year for her successful efforts to raise awareness about the need to fight climate.
Stay-at-home orders around the world have limited the human impact on the planet with the closure of schools, offices, and factories. Road traffic has dwindled to a minimum and airlines have reduced scheduled flights by 60% to 95%.
Out of something so incredibly challenging as a world health crisis, we have also seen some positive impacts on our environment. We have learned a few things that hopefully the global “we” will take forward. The planet and its beings are very resilient and carefully planned and executed infrastructural changes can make a difference. In other words, there is still hope for our planet. Although the positive effects are not an immediate or sustainable method of cleaning up the environment. Following this crisis, we now may have more ideas to consider as changes for our future.
we have also seen some very unfortunate side effects. The pandemic has led to
the abandonment of many environmental sustainability programs. This includes halting
recycling programs due to the risks associated with the spread of the virus as
well as a return to single-use plastic containers and shopping bags
Contributions to the Health of the Planet
Many companies are implementing ‘e-cool-logical’ thinking as part of their strategy to be responsible global businesses. Many have begun to organize regular discussions with employees so they can suggest ideas on how the business can become more environmentally friendly. Not only does this build morale and company culture, but it also may be a mentality that it’s taken home each evening.
- Utilize programs for public transportation to and from work
- Allow some employees to telecommute
- Use green materials and alternative heating systems when building or renovating
- Avoid using materials unnecessarily
- Encourage the use of less paper and /or reduce paper needs by printing double-sided
- Stock brands of recycled paper that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and made from 100 percent post-consumer-recycled content.
- Reuse scrap paper for message-taking instead of purchasing message pads
- Recycle paper, bottles, cans, etc.
- Save energy by turning off monitors, printers, copiers and lights at the end of each working day – and computers if possible
- Close blinds and solar screen shades during early morning and late evening to reduce heat gain from the sun
- Install timers or programmable thermostats to maximize the efficiency of your air conditioning
- Contact the person responsible for supplies and ask them to help. Almost everything purchased by a business buys energy and resources and creates waste. Research which suppliers have the least impact on the environment.
- Tell customers about how they can make environmentally friendly and informed decisions about with whom they choose to do business
- Recycling one aluminum can save enough electricity to run a TV for 3 hours
- Recycling one glass bottle or jar saves enough electricity to light a 100-watt bulb for four hours
- Recycling one ton of plastic saves the equivalent of 1,000–2,000 gallons of gasoline
- More than 30 million trees are cut down to produce a year’s supply of newspapers
- A ton of paper made from recycled paper saves:
- 7,000 gallons of water
- Between 17 and 31 trees
- 60 pounds of air pollutants
- Recycling a pound of steel saves enough energy to light a 60-watt light bulb for 26 hours.
- One drip per second from a faucet wastes 540 gallons of water a year.
- It takes between 400 and 500 years for a Styrofoam cup to decompose. It takes an orange peel six months to decompose.
- Using recycled glass uses 40% less energy than making products from all new materials.
- What percentage of the Earth’s surface is covered with water?
- What was the top fashion of 1970, the year of the first Earth Day?
- How long does it take to manufacture, fill, sell, recycle, and then re-manufacture an aluminum beverage can?
- Measuring at the Equator, what is the circumference of the Earth? The diameter?
- What percentage of the Earth’s water is saltwater?
- What percent of the Earth’s life species does the water support?
- The average depth of the ocean floor is 12,080.7 feet (3,682.2 m). At what depth is the “deep sea” said to begin?
- The top three elements the Earth is made of are Oxygen (47%), Silicon (28%) and ____________?
- Many Earth scientists, astronomers and astronauts call Earth the Blue Planet. Why?
- Anything made from organic materials needs 6 months to break down; paper and cotton also require 6 months. How long does it take to break down plastic items?
- 71 percent of the Earth’s surface
- Bell-bottom pants
- About 6 weeks total
- Nearly a 25,000 mile circumference with a diameter of the earth is 8,000 miles.
- Almost 97% is salt water
- 50 percent of Earth’s species of life
- 5,900 feet (1,800 m) —Below that depth, no sunlight penetrates the water and the sea appears completely black. This lightless area is called the Bathypelagic Zone.
- Aluminum (8%)
- Because the Earth is made of mostly water, the liquid blends in with the atmosphere to make the plant blue.
- Plastic items need 500 years to break down.
Human health is a reflection of the
health of our Earth. The Earth is what we all have in common and there is NO
PLANET B. Sometimes we just need to be reminded that what we all share is
Here are a couple of links you might
Ted Talks to watch this Earth Day
do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our