Earth Day 2020 is Wednesday, April 22, only a week away. This is the 50th Anniversary of the first Earth Day celebrated in 1970. Because of coronavirus social distancing safety measures, it will be the first Earth Day event held online.
Earth Day History
On the first Earth Day 20 million Americans left school and work to rally in the streets to protest in favor of a more environmentally conscious society. With the goal of raising awareness about our role in protecting the planet, the first Earth Day is credited with launching the modern environmental movement.
After thousands of environmental teach-ins and coast-to-coast rallies, before the year ended, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was formed and the “Clean Air”, “Clean Water” and “Endangered Species” Acts were passed.
Over the years Earth Day and the environmental movement has gone global with 5,000 organizations in almost 200 countries with hundreds of millions of people demanding decisive action on global warming and clean energy. Many victories toward sustainable environmental living have been won, but so much more remains to be done.
Earth Day’s Importance for Today
Today, in the United States, we need to organize to overcome the setbacks of the last three years and move forward. The Trump administration, under cover of the coronavirus pandemic in just the past few months has rolled back many clean water and air regulations as well as auto fuel economy and emission standards. These outrages are added to the damage his appointees have made in the deregulation of National Monuments, the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, efficient lighting standards, threats to endangered species, hazardous chemicals, pesticides and paint standards.
Our country has withdrawn from the Paris Climate Agreement, the Clean Power Plan, 2016 methane rule and the 2018 National Climate Assessment. Our government continues fossil fuel subsidies, bolstering coal and fracking while extending offshore drilling.
Photo: James Wheeler from Pixels.com
What You Can Do for Earth Day This Year
On the bright side, a new generation of young people is rising up again, like in 1970, refusing to put up with retrograde policies and environmentally damaging practices. Social media is spreading activist messaging and the organizing of youth climate strikes. The 2020 Earth Day theme of “Climate Action” is harnessing this new energy and excitement. Please join our youth in these activities at: www.earthday.org/earth-day-live/