Earth Day started back in April 1970, when millions of people came together to protest the negative impacts of 150 years of industrial development. As those impacts, and others, can still be felt world-wide, Earth Day has since morphed into an international “day of action” taking place on the 22nd of April each year.
It is estimated more than one billion people in 192 countries participate in Earth Day and take part in actions geared towards protecting this planet we call home.
Some of these actions may include staging events, participating in marches, signing petitions, cleaning up towns and local neighborhoods, arranging meetings with politicians, gathering community support, planting trees and making commitments to bettering the environment.
Each year, Earth Day is given a new theme and focus. This year’s theme is to protect our species; to protect threatened and endangered species.
Threatened and Endangered Species
It’s a sad, but true, fact we have countless threatened and endangered species on this planet. What’s even worse is humans are the ones creating a lot of the problem. It is our action, and in-action, that often causes such a negative and far-reaching impact.
Deforestation, climate change, the exploitation of certain species (for food, labor or illegal trade), unsustainable agriculture, habitat loss, use of pesticides, mining, CO2 emissions and other types of pollution are just some of the ways we are responsible for the rapidly growing list of threatened and endangered species.
The following is just a few of the species the WWF lists as threatened, endangered or even critically-endangered:
- Black Rhino
- Blue Whale
- Bengal Tiger
- Borneo Orangutan
- Hawksbill Turtle
The Earth Day campaign also includes bees, coral reefs, giraffes and other species on their list of threatened and endangered species. You can check out the status of more than 1,400 animals on this list from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
Goals of This Year’s Earth Day
Each year, the Earth Day campaign is focused on another goal and objective. Last year the focus was on ending plastic pollution. This year the campaign is focused around protecting our species and the goals are as follows, according to earthday.org:
- Educating people so as to raise their awareness about the rate of extinction of millions of species, the causes of this accelerated extinction and the consequences.
- Achieving major policy objectives resulting in the protection of both individual species and habitats, as well as broad groups of species.
- Activating a global movement focused on nature and its values.
- Stopping harmful pesticide and herbicide use.
- Encouraging individual actions such as adopting a plant-based diet.
What Can You Do?
Attend an Earth Day event near you. Getting connected to the billions of other people who interests and beliefs are the same as yours is the best (and easiest) way to get yourself revitalized.
Educate yourself on the issues Earth Day is focused on, both this year and in past years. Until you get the facts, and understand you are part of the global eco-system, you might not realize what role you play and what actions you can take in your day-to-day life to make a difference.
Encourage the reuse or re-purpose of existing properties, rather than the takeover and destruction of natural animal habitats. You can do this by writing to or speaking with elected officials, gathering community support and through other means. Sustainable development will be essential to our future.
Figure out how to reduce your overall consumption. This is not just in relation to food, but to other products as well. Wealth and happiness isn’t all about “stuff”. You can be happy and wealthy in life while maintaining the goal of using and consuming less. Again, reusing and re-purposing are key.
Opt for renewable energy. Open windows and doors to get fresh air rather than running your AC non-stop. Figure out how to cut down on energy use at home and in the office. Consider doing weekly food planning and prep. This can save energy, save gas, save time and get you eating healthier.
Use public transportation more often. Join or start a carpool. Try out Biofriendly Corporation’s Green Plus® smog reducer. Start walking or biking around town rather than using your car everywhere you go. It is actions such as these that can and will cut down on day-to-day harmful emissions.
Plant a bee-friendly garden in your front yard. Consider turning your backyard into a vegetable and herb garden where you can grow organic produce to use in cooking.
Unplug daily and unplug often. Although the world today always seems to encourage us to stay connected and plugged in, unplugging has its benefits too. Unplugged your electronics and appliances at home can save energy and money. Unplugging yourself from your phone and computer will give you the time and opportunity to get outdoors, connect with nature.
These aren’t the only actions you can take, but they are a good start. Whatever you do….do something to reduce your carbon footprint and ultimately help protect our species.