Earth Day is a day which has been designated for people all over the world to show that they care for the environment, to act out against pollution, and to work towards the protection of endangered species. Earth Day is commemorated on April 22, although when this day falls during the week, events are often held on the nearest weekend.
The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970 and was organized by college student Denis Hayes at the request of Senator Gaylord Nelson, who later received the Presidential Medal for Freedom for founding the day. About 20 million Americans took part in the first Earth Day, attending protests against the destruction of the environment.
In the same year, the American Government created the Environmental Protection Agency and the environmental movement has continued to grow ever since.
Earth Day is often observed by doing earth-friendly projects such as recycling or planting trees. Some people have taken part in “energy fasts” where for the duration of the day they endeavour to not use man-made pollution-causing energy.
Concerts and walks are often held on Earth Day, and each year the Earth Day Fair is held in Central Park, New York
In 1990 Denis Hayes organized the first International Earth Day. More than 200 million people took part from more than 141 countries. Each year this number continues to grow.
Denis Hayes has discussed the importance of the science of ecology encompassing people. Scientists have done a great deal of study of animals and plants and their interactions in ecosystems. We must also realise that humans are part of this equation.
Hayes says that:
* Human populations can overshoot the environment’s carrying capacity and cause it to collapse;
* people must not consume more energy than we can produce with sustainable methods;
* cities need to be designed around the principles that govern natural habitats;
* industry must conform to the fundamental laws of ecology.
So the real importance of Earth Day lies in people accepting responsibility for the environment in which they live and in actively participating in conservation, recycling, reduction of harmful waste and the replenishment of the natural environment. The human element is fundamental to this process.
“Earth Day.” Britannica Elementary Encyclopedia. 2007. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 24 Mar. 2007
Earth Day! Hayes, Denis. Mother Earth News. Hendersonville: Apr/May 2005., Iss. 209; pg. 24