Ways to celebrate Earth Day | Environmental Center

Ways to celebrate Earth Day | Environmental Center

hiker in front of lakeEarth Day began in 1970 as more people in the United States and across the globe became aware of the environmental impact caused by humans. Before the 1970’s, many people considered air and water pollution a normal and expected part of life. Celebrating Earth Day each year is vital because it recognizes the harm caused to the environment while showing support across the globe for protecting the Earth. You can take steps this Earth Day to support sustainability through your own collective and individual actions. 

How to contribute to Earth Day every day 

You can be a part of Earth Day by coming together with the CU Boulder community to protect our planet. Whether you are on campus or not, you can get involved and make a difference in numerous ways. Here are some of the ways you can participate in Earth Day today and every day. 

  • Participate in advocacy: One of the best ways to make a difference is through advocacy. You can sign petitions and participate in Earth Day events on campus and in your community. You can also write to your local, state and national officials. Ask them to support legislation that protects our planet. 
  • Sustainable fashion: Fast fashion negatively impacts the environment by increasing clothing waste and pollution from textile production. Donate or sell your unwanted clothing instead of throwing items away to reduce waste and give your clothes a new life. You can also make an impact by shopping at thrift stores, buying fewer new clothing items and supporting brands that intentionally support sustainability in their production processes. 
  • Take part in a community or global cleanup: The Environmental Center hosts events to support sustainability locally, like their Boulder Creek cleanup and the annual Campus Sustainability Summit. If you’re not in Boulder, you can search for cleanup opportunities in your area or connect with a local organization to offer your support. 
  • Make your next meal plant-based: Choosing more plant-based meals can help lower carbon emissions and reduce the impact of food production on the environment. Transition your breakfast, lunch or dinner to plant-based options and look for plant-based meals at the dining halls on campus. While you can opt for a fully vegan diet, choosing one plant-based meal a day can still have an impact.  
  • Get inspired: Explore ways to take action and make a difference throughout the year. A few standout ideas include picking up trash while you run (hello, plogging), switching to reusable bags, meal prepping and growing a container garden on your patio. 
  • Join the CU community via the AWorld App: The AWorld app supports the United Nations ActNow campaign, encouraging individual action on climate change. Once you download the app, you can join the CU community to track your sustainable actions. Actions include daily tasks like meditating, eating a vegetarian or vegan meal, carpooling or taking public transportation. 

Remember, every small action adds up to make a significant impact. Let’s work together to create a sustainable future for generations to come. These are just a few examples of how you can make a difference. 

The impacts of Earth Day 

Since its inception, Earth Day has continued to grow and increase awareness of environmental issues and the actions people can take to support sustainability. 

  • Just one year after the first Earth Day, 25% of Americans believed protecting the environment was important. 
  • In the years that followed, many national environmental policies passed, including: 
  • The Clean Air Act  
  • The Water Quality Improvement Act  
  • The Endangered Species Act 
  • The Toxic Substances Control Act 
  • The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act  
  • The Environmental Protection Agency was established in 1970, following the first Earth Day marches.  
  • Earth Day celebrations every April 22 continue to make an impact across the globe. 

The importance of Earth Day 

Earth Day is an annual reminder that climate change has a major impact on our planet, our lives and our future. It can also increase awareness and drives change. Earth Day continues to evolve and add value to sustainability movements across the globe. 

  • Earth Day provides a day to focus on education about environmental issues affecting our planet.  
  • Demonstrations on Earth Day help signal to government representatives the importance of environmental issues to their constituents.  
  • Earth Day sets aside a day each year to reflect on the significance of the planet’s health and what we can all do to positively impact our environment.  
  • Earth Day has influenced major national policy in the past and will continue to do so. 

The history of Earth Day 

Author Rachel Caron released her book Silent Spring in 1962. The book brought attention to how the use of harmful chemicals, such as DDT, caused everlasting damage to wildlife, nature and people, and it called for humans to act responsibly as stewards of the living earth.  

Caron’s book motivated Junior Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin to create Earth Day. He selected April 22 because it fell perfectly between spring break and final exams and would allow space for college students to get involved. 

On April 22, 1970, an estimated 20 million people gathered at schools, universities and community centers across the U.S. to host inaugural events that brought awareness to the need for more environmental laws. These events also brought attention to a wide variety of environmental issues. 

Denis Hayes, who helped organize the first Earth Day with Gaylord Nelson, went on to found the Earth Day Network, which spread Earth Day internationally, helping organize events in over 141 countries. 

Earth Day Monumental Moments: 

  • 1970: First Earth Day celebrated. 
  • 1990: Twentieth anniversary, an estimated 200 million people in over 141 countries celebrate. 
  • 2010: Fortieth anniversary, an estimated 1 billion people worldwide gathered to celebrate. 
  • 2020: Fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day, in-person events were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but people globally celebrated via social media. 

Want to learn more? Check out the official Earth Day website for more information on the history of Earth Day, different projects you can participate in and simple ways to change the planet. You can also connect with the Environmental Center to learn ways to get involved. 

April 22 is only one day each year, but you can treat every day like Earth Day! 

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