Earth Day is a worldwide event that takes place on April 22 each year. On Earth Day, demonstrations and activities are held to advocate support for environmental protection.
After seeing the devastation from an oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara, California in 1969, Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. senator at the time, decided to channel the anger of affected residents into something greater. His hope was to fight for other environmental issues. This led to the first Earth Day demonstration on April 22, 1970, where millions of Americans rallied for a healthy environment. This day acted as a spark for the modern environmental movement.
“Environmental protection is important because the Earth itself is our home, and through damaging the Earth, we are damaging ourselves,” stated senior Joel Thomsen. “We act like we own the planet when, in reality, there are so many other species that are affected by us damaging the environment.”
Today, Earth Day is celebrated by more than a billion people each year. Despite major environmental issues arising in recent years, people continue to fight. In 2010, 250,000 people gathered on the National Mall for a climate rally. A service project called “A Billion Acts of Green” launched, and The Canopy Project initiated its first steps on that same day.
“Students can help the environment by eating less red meat and completing assignments online when they have the option,” said senior Michelle Hodge. “Reducing waste is the easiest problem to fix.”
Students may feel overwhelmed with the environmental problems our society faces today, but even small actions can make a big difference. Simple changes such as carpooling to reduce CO2 emissions, eating leftovers to reduce food waste, and recycling to decrease the plastic waste in the environment can make a tremendous positive impact. Earth Day brings people together to advocate for a common cause that will forever be relevant. A little step goes a big way.
Some local activities to attend and contribute to on Earth Day 2016 include the following:
- The University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center’s Earth Day Fair on April 22 will hold activities and demonstrations to teach methods on how to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
- On April 23, there is an Anacostia River cleanup and celebration, where volunteers will come together to clean up the watershed. Afterwards, they will celebrate at the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium. Also on April 23, Montpelier is hosting an educational Earth Day Celebration for the entire family.
- Finally, the Mt. Hebron Environmental Club is selling Earth Day bracelets for one dollar and recycled paper pencils for fifty cents during lunch to raise money to build a rain garden and a rain barrel. The club is also organizing a yard cleanup day on April 22 after school.
Earth Day is full of celebration and hope for the future of the environment. Mt. Hebron students can truly make a difference by working together for a common goal with the global community.