Nowadays, Earth Day is celebrated as a very special event where the whole globe comes together in rising environmental awareness and promoting movements that strive to save our precious planet from human recklessness. However, in this fast and crazy world, we tend to forget that one day per year is not even nearly enough to make a difference.
If we really want to make the future brighter for those who come after us, we need to act like every day is Earth Day. That might sound difficult since old habits are extremely hard to drop. However, you don't need to change dramatically overnight. Start with small things - like refusing a plastic straw at the bar or get yourself a reusable glass bottle. By the next Earth Day, you will be leading a more sustainable lifestyle without breaking a sweat.
How did Earth Day start?
The first Earth Day was observed back in 1970 as a direct reaction to a horrific oil spill that occurred just off California's coast in January 1969. More than 11.000 cubic meters of oil spewed from the platform drill, killing more than 10.000 seabirds, dolphins, seals, and sea lions. People were shocked and environmentalists started lobbying for stricter regulations and more widespread education.
The time was perfect to start a campaign to promote environmental awareness since young people were already heavily involved in civil rights and anti-Vietnam war movements. Riding on the wave of social changes, US Senator Gaylord Nelson targeted college-age activists. To accommodate their time constraints, Earth Day was set for April 22, a date between spring break and final exams.
Earth Day went international
The original Earth Day was very successful in the USA, with about 20 million people attending rallies across the country. It remains the largest single-day protest in human history. Despite its triumph, Earth Day was mostly observed only in the US for the first decade, with Canada joining in 1980. It wasn't until 1990 when it became a global movement, with 141 countries participating in the gatherings and raising awareness about recycling. The environmental topics spotlighted on Earth Day vary from year to year and it doesn't seem like we are ever going to run out of issues that need our attention.
Last year over 100 million people worldwide observed the 50th anniversary of what is being referred to as the largest online mass mobilization in history. This might inspire us with optimism for the future of our planet, but that is not enough. Action is also required and on a daily basis.
What can you do to make every day Earth Day?
The numerous Earth Day activities are very important since they provide inspiration to each of us to be better and try harder. Inspiration is important. Without inspiration, we don't see the long-term purpose. We soon lose interest in taking small actions such are stop buying plastic bottles or sorting trash into reusable plastic, paper, recyclables and compostables.
Instead of spending energy on choirs that make your life hard, try to invest it in getting inspiration day after day. Go for a walk in the woods, take your kids for a swim in the lake, climb a mountain and find the beauty in nature that surrounds you. Find the inspiration to preserve all this for your kids and all of a sudden recycling will get a deeper meaning. All of a sudden, every day will be Earth Day for you.