What is Earth Day?
Last year, we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. Things have changed a lot since the very first Earth Day. Back in 1970, around 20 million people participated in Earth Day. This year, Earth Day is expected to have over 1 billion people engaged in helping our planet.
One man, Senator Gaylord Nelson, is responsible for what we call “Earth Day.” In 1969, Senator Nelson, and many others, witnessed the massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. To this day, it is still the third-largest oil spill in United States waters. Senator Nelson saw the impact of what 150 years of industrial development has done to our Earth, and he wanted to change how we do things.
In the same year as the oil spill, the United States was also experiencing student anti-war protests. On November 15th 1969, the Vietnam Moratorium Committee staged what is believed to be the largest antiwar protest in United States history when as many as half a million people attended a mostly peaceful demonstration in Washington. Smaller demonstrations were held in several cities and towns across the country.
Senator Nelson was inspired by these students speaking out, that he wanted to teach them about the damaging effects we are having on the Earth. He announced the idea for a ‘teach-in’ on college campuses to inform students of the detrimental effects on our planet. Senator Nelson worked alongside Pete McCloskey, a Republican Congressman, and Denis Hayes, a young 25-year-old activist, to organize campus teach-ins on April 22nd.
Earth Day Impact
Since then, April 22nd has been the day we celebrate what we now know as Earth Day. The first Earth Day was supported by all individuals, including Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor.
In the next few years after the first Earth Day, the United States created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Environmental Education Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, and soon after the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.
Earth Day Global Expansion
As 1990 approached, a group of environmental leaders and Denis Hayes organized another Earth Day, but this one being global. More than 200 million people in 141 countries participated in Earth Day 1990.
Nowadays, Earth Day is observed in 192 countries. With each year being more and more important to celebrate this day, here are 3 ways how your office can do its part in saving our planet!
Ways to Celebrate Earth Day
Have a Community Earth Day Party
One of the easiest ways to celebrate Earth Day and make a big difference for the community is by hosting a community Earth Day party. What do we mean by party? Well, that is up to you! Some companies host a special event where they invite employees and customers to pick up trash in local areas in the community. Other ideas include:
- A dress-up theme where everyone creates an item of clothing from recyclable materials
- An event where everyone in the community brings a bottle and builds a sculpture
- Everyone brings old clothes/unwanted items, then swaps them / gives them away.
- Play sustainability-related games (trivia, searches, scavenger hunts, team-building)
There are so many benefits to having an Earth Day party. Over 70% of people surveyed are more likely to work for a company that has a strong green footprint. Having an Earth Day party will be fun and a great way to show that your company is consistently trying to promote sustainability.
In fact, nearly half of respondents are even willing to accept a smaller salary to work for an environmentally and socially responsible company. And over 10% would accept a salary decrease between $5,000 and $10,000 to work for an environmentally and socially responsible company.
Host a Green Fundraiser
There are hundreds of non-profit organizations that focus on helping our planet. Whether it is Team Trees or Greenpeace, you can have a fundraiser for hundreds of different charities.
Some great Earth Day charities include WWF, 350.org, Team Trees, Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network, Friends of the Earth, Global Footprint Network, Earth Day Network, Natural Resources Defense Council, Rainforest Alliance, Earthjustice, The Climate Reality Project, Restore The Earth, C40, Cities Climate Leadership Group, Fairtrade International, Earthworks, Environmental Defense Fund, Conservation International, The Carbon Underground, and Green Cross International.
To learn more about each of these charities, please visit DonorBox.org.
Fundraising is a great way to bring your community together to support a cause, and it is a fun way to donate to a great cause!
What are you currently doing in your office to be eco-friendly? Do you recycle? There are many different ways we can be eco-friendly. From turning off the lights when we leave a room to making sure we recycle the paper used in the office.
Here is a checklist to be more eco-friendly at the office.
Recap & Statistics
Now that you know more about Earth Day and how you can celebrate it, what will you do? Happy Earth Day! Here are some statistics that we found interesting that you may like to know.
The average American produces around 4.5 pounds of trash per day.
Worldwide, approximately 1 million water bottles are sold every minute.
According to the United Nations, if the world’s population reaches 9.6 billion by the year 2050, it would take the equivalent of three planets to produce enough natural resources to sustain our current lifestyle.
Plastic has been found in 60 percent of seabirds and 100 percent of sea turtles.
40% of the global fishing catch is unused, wasted, or not accounted for.
The ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are decreasing at an alarming rate. Between the years 1993 and 2016, Greenland lost approximately 286 billion tons of ice per year, and Antarctica lost 127 billion tons of ice during the same time frame.
Droughts are happening more frequently due to climate change. In the United States, California experienced a drought that lasted from 2011 to 2019, interrupted only by particularly wet winters.
According to the United Nations, to combat climate change, we need to reduce our global emissions by 7.6 percent a year until 2030.