SAN DIEGO, April 22, 2015 – Forty-five years ago today, the first Earth Day took place in 1970. It is now an annual event celebrated on April 22, coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network. It reaches more than 192 countries each year, including hundreds of communities in the United States.
From its very humble beginnings, Earth Day has grown into the largest single secular holiday celebrated around the world. The late Wisconsin Sen. Gaylord Nelson founded Earth Day. He was so distraught by the effects of the 1969 Santa Barbara, Calif., oil spill and other environmental concerns that he decided to take a page from the anti-Vietnam War protesters of his day and push the issue of environmental activism onto a national scale.
Apparently many Americans shared his concerns. The very first Earth Day celebration saw 20 million Americans showing their support for environmental reform. On the first Earth Day, Mayor John Lindsay of New York City shut down Fifth Avenue, one of the busiest streets in Manhattan, and opened up Central Park for an Earth Day event.
The first Earth Day captured the imagination of people around the world. More than 100,000 people in China rode their bikes to save fuel and reduce emissions from vehicles. Forty years later in 2010, over one billion people celebrated Earth Day.
That same year, the Earth Day Network launched a million-tree-planting initiative in cooperation with James Cameron, director of the movie “Avatar.” In 2011, the Earth Day Network planted 28 million trees in Afghanistan. One hundred species of endangered orchids were planted in Panama to honor Earth Day, helping to save them from extinction.
As part of Earth Day, the film “The Untouched” was created by Shreevivasan Manievannan. It is a time lapse film showing the beauty of the state and national parks in America. It took the filmmaker two years to shoot 56 different sequences in 30 locations and to put the 15,000 photographers together in this five-minute film.
Manievannan said, “My overall vision for the video was to simply showcase the beauty of nature. We need to have the urge to step up as an individual, as a community, as a country, and as a world, to conserve and combat the changes for the best of our future.” Watch and be inspired!
Earth Day and Earth Week have made a tremendous impact on educating people about reducing their negative impact on our environment. Here are a few things you can do on Earth Day and every day:
- Recycling one can saves energy enough for three hours of TV viewing.
- It takes less energy to recycle cans than to produce new ones.
- Each individual produces an average of four pounds of garbage every day.
- If all the newspapers in the U.S. were recycled, a quarter billion trees could be saved every year.
- Fourteen billion pounds of trash ends up in our oceans every year. Out of those billions, the plastic alone will kill a million creatures that call the ocean their home.
For these reasons and many more, all of us at Good Earth Plant Company will do our part to continue the campaign for a healthier ecosystem. Not to brag, but we celebrate Earth Day every day. More important, will you? Volunteer. Organize a clean up event in your neighborhood. Install solar panels on your roof (and how about a green roof too?). Plant a community garden. Let your elected officials know environmental protection is important to you.
Jim Mumford, GRP, CLP is the owner of Good Earth Plant Company and GreenScaped Buildings, San Diego, California. Find Good Earth Plants on Facebook and Twitter.