This Earth Day is being cited as the most important day, in the most important year, of the most important decade… and we couldn’t agree more.
Earth Day is a moment to change our behaviours, build momentum, call for greater protections for our planet and “diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide”.
The official Earth Day is on the 22nd April, however this has turned into more of an Earth Week with events like the Global Youth Summit taking place on 23-25 April and with important environmental events taking place all over the world.
Where did Earth Day originate?
Earth Day’s roots run deep, stemming all the way back to 1970. This was a time where in westernized countries, big industrial factories would pump huge plumes of smoke and dump toxic waste in the water systems without any concern about the environmental impact. In the US, there began to be a clear disconnect between the environmental policy wanted by the locals and the willingness of politicians to make laws around these issues.
In 1970, a dude named Senator Lord Nelson and a team of environmentalists decided to create a day to spread awareness to the masses and spark a global environmental agenda. And holy smokes, it worked! The first earth day remains the biggest single-day protest in human history. 20 million people poured out onto the sun-drenched U.S streets and caused one hell of a splash.
“It took this basket of issues that we now call “the environment” and elevated them spectacularly in the public consciousness” – Denis Hayes, Earth Day coordinator.
The result? A huge political shift as politicians sat up and listened. By the end of 1970, The U.S Environmental Protection Agency was born and the first environmental laws were passed. With a mission to regulate and protect our environment – the agency passed The Clean Air Act, The Clean Water Act and The Endangered Species Act through congress.
Fast forward to today and Earth Day has been running for over 50 years. In the past five decades, the rise of social media and the increase in climate activism has led to huge global awareness around the climate crisis. Having mobilized billions of activists in 190+ countries, Earth Day continues to be a huge contributor to the environmental movement.
Why is this Earth Day so important?
2021 is set to be a huge year for climate action. With all the chaos and devastation that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused, it’s given us the chance to pause and shift the way we normally do things. As we see light at the end of the tunnel it is vital that a green recovery is prioritised and many businesses and governments are pledging to put environmental protection at the heart of their recovery. The way we bounce back from the pandemic will define our future.
We’re also getting set for the most important event the UK has ever hosted. COP26. In November, 200 world leaders will be descending on Glasgow to debate many elements of the Paris Agreement. The aim, to plan out a roadmap for the commitments of each country to protect our planet and future generations. Earth Day is an essential piece of the puzzle in the build-up to this.
With the renewable revolution and tech advancements, we’re feeling excited about the future and this Earth Day provides a time for optimism, a seed of hope for all of us looking ahead to the future.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead
It has not been smooth sailing though, in recent years companies using this annual celebration to greenwash, caused Earth Day organisers to re-establish the message and clamp down on these large corporations.
2021 is a year for stubborn optimism (shouts to Christiana Figueres). With our prospects of reversing the effects of the climate on the decline, 2021 is inarguably the most crucial year of our times. The 22nd of April is a cue for world leaders, grassroots activists, thought-leaders, ecopreneurs, artists, musicians, influencers and the leaders of tomorrow to come together, reflect on where we are and where we need to go to push us towards a better world.
Shameless plug: Check out the Earth Day campaign we pulled together with reforestation platform Ecologi and George The Poet here.
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