Honoring our planet: Earth Day

Photo courtesy of NASA

SAN DIEGO, April 21, 2015 — On April 22 each year, over one billion people worldwide come together in celebration of Mother Earth.

Over 192 countries participate in this event, which is sometimes celebrated over an entire week.

First celebrated in 1970, Earth Day is coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network.

Earth Day is celebrated in a variety of ways, including media events, social media campaigns, parades, marathons, celebrity events, live entertainment, educational lectures, community-wide clean-up projects and more.

Earth Day Flag created by John McConnell/wikimedia
Earth Day Flag created by John McConnell/wikimedia

According to anthropologist Margaret Mead, “Earth Day is the first holy day which transcends all national borders, yet preserves all geographical integrities, spans mountains and oceans and time belts, and yet brings people all over the world into one resonating accord.”

Embracing a leadership role in addressing America’s pressing concerns for the quality of its environment, the late President Richard Nixon, a Republican, established the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970.

Since the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency around the time of the first Earth Day celebration, there have been great strides made in winning the fight against environmental pollution, as reported on NBC.com:

  • There has been an estimated 60 percent reduction in air pollution.
  • The passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972 has assured safe water for swimming and fishing for two-thirds of all Americans.
  • Billions of dollars have gone to cleanup projects to eliminate hazardous wastes, especially at dumping sites.
  • Many animal and bird species have been saved and now flourish due to restrictions on DDT pesticide usage and the enactment of the 1973 Endangered Species Act.

After the incredible progress made in recent decades, the most urgent environmental concern is now Earth’s ever-changing climate.

Today’s environmental crises are due to the unanticipated consequences of industrial pollution, human consumption and over-population, placing almost insurmountable stress on Earth’s limited natural resources.

Whether climate change is the result of nature, nurture or both, there is overwhelming concern for what quality of life might be like for Americans now and for future generations.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency continues its critical work and research efforts to find solutions and make advances in helping to solve the most pressing environmental issues:

  • Air quality
  • Climate change
  • Ecosystems
  • Health
  • Land, waste and clean-up
  • Pesticides
  • Substances and toxins
  • Sustainable practices

Beyond considering the most prevalent, large-scale environmental issues, it is critical to find smaller and more personal ways to contribute to the effort, such as:

  • Examining households, workplaces, communities, buildings and infrastructures for mold, toxins and other harmful substances.
  • Being aware of individual water usage and developing awareness of water conservation.
  • Choosing modes of transportation other than an automobile to get to and from work, such as walking, biking, public transportation or sharing a ride.
  • Replacing standard light bulbs at home with compact fluorescent bulbs that consume significantly less energy.
  • Driving on highways and other roadways at slower speeds to consume less gasoline.
  • Remembering to turn off lights in any unused room to conserve energy.

Mother Earth is almost 5 billion years old, and the natural resources that once appeared limitless are growing more finite by the minute.

Composer Ludwig Von Beethoven’s acclaimed “Ode to Joy,” with lyrics set to the Earth Day Anthem of the European Union, expresses the critical need to preserve Earth’s resources:

“Joyful Joyful we adore our Earth in all its wonderment
Simple gifts of nature that all join into a paradise
Now we must resolve to protect her
Show her our love throughout all time
With our gentle hand and touch
We make our home a newborn world.”

As we celebrate Earth day this April 22, giving thanks to Mother Earth for her incredible bounty, keep in mind that her natural gifts belong not only to every individual, but also to her over seven billion human inhabitants worldwide.

Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!

Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is a health care provider of over 30 years. As a featured “Communities Digital News” columnist, LifeCycles with Laurie Edwards-Tate emphasizes healthy aging and maintaining independence, while delighting and informing its readers. Laurie is an educator and a recognized expert in home and community-based, long-term care services.

In addition to writing for “Communities Digital News,” Laurie is the president and CEO of her firm, At Your Home Familycare, which serves persons of all ages who are disabled and infirm with a variety of non-medical, in-home care and concierge services.

Copyright © 2015 by At Your Home Familycare

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Laurie Edwards-Tate
Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, President and Founder of At Your Home Familycare in San Diego, California, was among the first to recognize the growing need for services allowing individuals to remain independent created by the aging of America including the Baby Boomer generation, now being called the “Silver Tsunami.” It is the Baby Boomers who are rapidly redefining what aging and growing older means and looks like in America today. Now celebrating its 28th year in business, AYHF is among San Diego County’s Top Women-Owned Businesses and Fastest Growing Businesses, and enjoys a reputation for upholding the highest possible standards among its employees and its emphasis on customer service. Edwards-Tate is a valued contributor to the public dialogue on current issues and challenges in the home care industry, and serves in leadership roles on the Home Care Aide Association of America Advisory Board and Private Duty Home Care Association Advisory Board, as well as the Home Care Aide Steering Committee of the California Association for Health Services at Home. Edwards-Tate is frequently interviewed in the media on healthy aging, caregiving, and health care topics. Follow Laurie and AYHF at www.atyourhomefamilycare.com; on Facebook at www.facebook.com/atyourhomefamilycare, and Twitter at @AYHFamilycare