Happy Earth Day fellow earthlings! Today 22nd of April 2012 is the 42nd Earth Day. Earth – Our Blue planet unique in our solar system for supporting life, which has for millions of years sustained evolutionary changes and survived, is facing man made issues which threaten the very fabric of her future. At least on this day we need to take a look at ourselves; the way we live, the way we have an impact on our surroundings and be conscious about what we can do to reduce our carbon footprints
Earth Day: The History of A Movement
Each year, Earth Day — April 22 — marks the anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970.
The height of hippie and flower-child culture in the United States, 1970 brought the death of Jimi Hendrix, the last Beatles album, and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. Protest was the order of the day, but saving the planet was not the cause. War raged in Vietnam, and students nationwide increasingly opposed it.
Earth Day 1970 capitalized on the emerging consciousness, channeling the energy of the anti-war protest movement and putting environmental concerns front and center.
The idea came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, he realized that if he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. Senator Nelson announced the idea for a “national teach-in on the environment” to the national media; persuaded Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman, to serve as his co-chair; and recruited Denis Hayes as national coordinator. Hayes built a national staff of 85 to promote events across the land.
As a result, on the 22nd of April, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.
Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. “It was a gamble,” Gaylord recalled, “but it worked.”
In 1990 it was revived again when Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. Earth Day 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. It also prompted President Bill Clinton to award Senator Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1995) — the highest honor given to civilians in the United States — for his role as Earth Day founder.
Much like 1970, Earth Day 2010 came at a time of great challenge for the environmental community. Climate change deniers, well-funded oil lobbyists, reticent politicians, a disinterested public, and a divided environmental community all contributed to a strong narrative that overshadowed the cause of progress and change. In spite of the challenge, for its 40th anniversary, Earth Day Network reestablished Earth Day as a powerful focal point around which people could demonstrate their commitment. Earth Day Network brought 225,000 people to the National Mall for a Climate Rally, amassed 40 million environmental service actions toward its 2012 goal of A Billion Acts of Green®, launched an international, 1-million tree planting initiative with Avatar director James Cameron and tripled its online base to over 900,000 community members.
The fight for a clean environment continues in a climate of increasing urgency, as the ravages of climate change become more manifest every day. We invite you to be a part of Earth Day and help write many more victories and successes into our history. Discover energy you didn’t even know you had. Feel it rumble through the grassroots under your feet and the technology at your fingertips. Channel it into building a clean, healthy, diverse world for generations to come.
What Can I Do?
Each one of us can make a difference in our own way. A few simple steps to get one started is listed below:
1. PLEDGE A GREEN ACT AND GET THE NUMBER OF GREEN ACTS TO 1BILLION
2. Donate to Save Yasuni national Park – a preserve in the Amazon Rain forest on the Ecuadorian side. In 2007, with the discovery of large oil deposits in the Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini field (ITT field) located northeast of the Park, President Rafael Correa presented before the United Nations the decision to keep oil at ITT field underground indefinitely, if the international community cooperates with Ecuador providing at least half of the profits that the State would receive in the case of exporting oil.
Ecuador is committed to maintain indefinitely untapped the 846 million barrels of oil reserves in the ITT field, located in the Park. The international community will participate with a financial contribution, creating a capital fund to be administered by an international trust, with the participation of the State, Ecuadorian civil society, and contributors.
3. Spare a Dollar For a Tree – The Canopy Project -Earth Day Network planted over 1 million trees in 16 countries in 2010 under the Avatar Home Tree Initiative, a project supported by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.
4. Please, save a little water daily, during all water related activities (turning off water while brushing your teeth, showering instead of soaking in the tub, using the dishwasher instead of hand wash… options are unending)
5 Please, plant at least a Native tree annually at your home or community (a native plant garden too will help)
6 Please, keep off electric appliances a few minutes daily (switch off lights when you leave a room, use CFLs)
7 Please, suspend travel by personal car once a day (Car share, walking short distances, using public transport, bicycling… again options galore!)
8 Please, keep a day in a week luxury free (reduced consumption is reduced carbon footprint, using only what we NEED)
9 Please, do not throw away the waste wherever you like (Recycle, Recycle, Recycle!)
10 Please, No more junk food
11. Please, save one minute to think on Climate Change and Environment (a minute a day will in all probablity lead to more green actions =)
12. You Can Reduce CO2 Emissions, support organisations which plant Native trees worldwide.
13. Spread awareness – talk about it with your friends and family. After all we all share the Earth and we all share the responsibility.
Happy Earth Day everyone, off to do my bit.
SOURCE : http://www.earthday.org/