Friday – April 22, 2022
By Jordin Lim
Earth Day is a yearly celebration during which support for environmental protection is displayed through a wide range of events that are coordinated globally. Earth Day also marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. During Earth Day, awareness is raised about pollution and environmental issues as well as ways to maintain a clean environment.
How did this important commemoration come to be?
The first Earth Day was in April 1970. Before this time, there were no legal or regulatory procedures to protect our environment; there was no EPA, no Clean Air Act, and no Clean Water Act.
- EPA: Environmental Protection Agency
- Clean Air Act: requires the EPA to set national emission standards for large or worldwide sources of air
- Clean Water Act: prevents, reduces, and eliminates pollution in nation’s water
In the spring of 1970, Wisconsin senator Gaylord Nelson organized the first Earth Day and rallies by 20 million Americans in various U.S. cities raising awareness about environmental issues took place across the country. This movement was successful and by December of 1970, the U.S. government had created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). By 1990, Earth Day was an event celebrated by more than 140 countries around the globe.
How can you help protect Earth this Earth Day?
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Plenty of you have surely heard of the phrase “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” but what are some ways you can incorporate this saying into your daily life?
- Reduce: Reduce means to cut back on the amount of trash that is produced. One main way to reduce is to compost, which can be done by creating a mixture of food scraps that will eventually turn into pure organic nutrition that can be used for fertilizing and conditioning land. Also, purchasing items with less packaging is another way to cut back on your trash footprint.
- Reuse: To reuse means to find new ways to use items that would otherwise be thrown into the garbage. For example, an easy way to reuse is to use plastic food containers you may get from ordering take-out as a portable food storage for snacks.
Recycle: Recycling involves processing something regarded as “trash” into a new item, thereby saving materials and resources. An easy way to recycle is to create a can just for recyclable material (if you don’t have one already). Materials that can be recycled include glass, cardboard, aluminum, and lead batteries. If you are eating out, throw recyclable material in a recycle bin, if one is available.
Plant a tree: Not only do trees provide us with oxygen while absorbing carbon dioxide, they also function as shelter for animals such as squirrels and owls. If you plant one in your yard, you can even use it as shade during hotter months, which can help in keeping our homes cooler.
Limit electricity and water usage: Both electricity and water are limited sources, so excessive use of them is not beneficial to our planet. Electricity is most commonly produced from fossil fuels, which greatly contribute to climate change; as fossil fuels are burned, they release vast amounts of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas. As more greenhouse gasses are trapped in our atmosphere, more global warming is caused. Although electricity can come from other sources such as wind and the sun, it is still important to conserve electricity, so turn off that lamp whenever you can.
Water is a limited resource and less than one percent of water on Earth can be used by humans, due to the fact the rest is either too salty or difficult to obtain. Turning off the faucet whenever not in active usage or taking shorter showers can greatly reduce the amount of water we use.
Volunteer: Volunteering is a great way to contribute your time to helping clean our Earth. You can volunteer at local parks to pick up trash or maybe even begin a drive to collect recyclable items. In addition, if you’re ever taking a walk outside and see some trash on the ground, don’t hesitate to pick it up and place it in the nearest trash can. It’s really as simple as that!