Every year on April 22, Earth Day marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970.
In 1970, April 22 was selected as the date to march for the Earth: 20 million Americans (at the time, 10% of the total population of the United States!) 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.
Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from politicians and individuals, rich and poor, urban dwellers and farmers, business and labor leaders. By the end of 1970, 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.
In 1990, 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 — the highest honor given to civilians in the United States — for his role as Earth Day founder.
Earth Day today.
Today, Earth Day is widely recognized as the largest secular observance in the world, marked by more than a billion people every year as a day of action to change human behavior and provoke policy changes.
Now, the fight for a clean environment continues with increasing urgency, as the ravages of climate change become more and more apparent every day.
As the awareness of our climate crisis grows, so does civil society mobilization, which is reaching a fever pitch across the globe today: citizens of the world are rising up to demand far greater action for our planet and its people.
By tapping into some of the learnings, outcomes, and legacy of the first Earth Day while also channeling the energy, excitement, and coordination of the youth climate strikes, we can build a movement empowering individuals with the information, the tools, the messaging and the communities needed to make an impact and drive change.
2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. In honor of this milestone, Earth Day Network is launching an ambitious set of goals to shape the future of 21st century environmentalism.
Together, we can fight for a cleaner, safer, more just and sustainable world that protects and supports all of us: April 22, 2020, is as a key moment for individuals, institutions and organizations everywhere to demonstrate our shared demand for bold, transformative change.
Planting for a better future
Trees filter the air and stave off the effects of climate change. Trees also reverse the impacts of land degradation and provide food, energy and income to communities.
Let’s improve our shared environment by planting trees across the globe. Since 2010, Earth Day Network has planted tens of millions of trees working worldwide to strengthen communities.
In the coming year, in honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Earth Day Network has a goal of planting 7.8 billion trees — one tree for every person on earth!
Reforestation helps disadvantaged communities. Most of the world’s forests are located in some of the poorest areas on the earth, and when those forests are depleted, communities are left without their livelihood. Expanding cropland and agricultural systems, building roads and harvesting wood for lumber leads to further deforestation. When logging companies look for new timber, poor communities who depend on the forests are again threatened.
Earth Day Network works to reforest areas in dire need of rehabilitation, including areas with some of the world’s communities most at-risk from climate change and environmental degradation. They have also conducted broad tree planting in the wake of environmental disasters. For example, over 500,000 trees were planted in Haiti since the 2010 earthquake.
Here is a list of tree planting programs around the world for all of us to plant as many trees as possible:
– Plant a tree in the UAE: the Give a Ghaf Planting Program gives you the opportunity to plant the local national tree and participate in annual Community Plantings
– You can support the Canopy Project where by each dollar you donate supports the planting of one tree.
– Make your lifestyle environmentally friendly by offsetting your day-to-day carbon emissions by planting trees with Tree Nation.
– Fight climate change and plant thousands of tree through reforestation projects with One Tree Planted
– Check out the Trillion Tree Campaign app and challenge individuals and organizations to plant: you can set your target and invite anyone to join your personal project!