“In nature, nothing exists alone.” -Rachel Carson, 1962
Today is Earth Day, a day that more than 1 billion people in 192 countries around the world take action to protect our planet. While the first Earth Day started in 1970, the stage for it had been set several years earlier with Rachel Carson’s bestselling book Silent Spring in 1962. Her book is credited for raising public awareness about the links between environment, pollution, pesticides, and public health and starting the environmental awareness movement.
The idea for a national day to focus on the environment came several years later to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson after he witnessed the devastation of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. By the end of 1970, the first Earth Day had led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.
Today, there are many ways that you can get involved to help preserve and protect our planet! You can join one of Earth Day Network’s many campaigns, including working to advance the role of women in our evolving green economy. Next year is the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day and they have already launched Earth Challenge 2020 as ‘the world’s largest coordinated citizen science campaign.’ For more information or to get involved with Earth Challenge 2020, go here.
There are also so many small changes you can make in your daily life that have an impact! Here are just a few ideas that you can do (for more ideas, go here):
-Start or join a local cleanup- in Pittsburgh, visit Citizens Against Litter or the Clean Pittsburgh Commission for information on becoming a Clean Neighborhood Steward in your community. If you are outside of the Pittsburgh area, you can search for a local cleanup here.
-Plant a tree, or donate to plant a tree through Earth Day’s Canopy Project
-Pledge to stop using pesticides
-Commit to quit using plastic bags- bring reusable bags with you when you shop
-Stop using disposable plastics, especially single-use plastics like bottles, bags and straws
-Run your dishwasher only when it’s full to save water and energy
-Turn off lights when you leave a room
-Move your heater thermostat down two degrees in winter and up two degrees in the summer to reduce your carbon footprint by 2,000 pounds
-Choose organic foods
-Go meatless one day a week
-Use environmentally-friendly, non-toxic cleaning products. Here is a great list of recipes to make your own. This is also a fun project to do with kids!
-Walk, bike, use public transportation, or carpool
What are some of the things you do to love the earth?