When is World Earth Day?
World Earth Day is celebrated on the 22nd of April by one billion people globally. It is the largest secular observance in the world, and a day to demonstrate support for environmental protection, but where does it come from? And what can we do to mark it?
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World Earth Day: A History
The first World Earth Day was in 1970, held at the end of a decade dominated by demands for change. The 1960s was the era of Woodstock and The Beatles (think peace, love, hippies and the like), but also the Vietnam War protests, the Civil Rights movement in America, and left-wing student protests across the globe. Things were changing, and from this period came the beginnings of modern environmentalism.
In 1968, NASA took the very first photograph of Earth from space: just a little blue-white ball spied from the other side of the moon. This was a massive moment, and it changed people’s perspective. “The vast loneliness is awe-inspiring and it makes you realize just what you have back there on Earth,” said Jim Lovell, of Apollo 8. There was new-found momentum for those that wanted to protect the planet.
So began a programme of environmental education
And so it was that World Earth Day emerged. Capitalising on this moment, World Earth Day sought to bring together the energies of those protesting during the 1960s with a programme of environmental education.
The goal was to propel environmentalism into the political conversation, and it worked. After 20 million people participated across America, Congress created a new federal body – the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – and shortly afterwards passed the Clean Air and Clean Water acts.
World Earth Day 2021
Fifty-one years later, much has been achieved, but the need for change is more urgent than ever. World Earth Day is in part about celebrating the achievements of the environmental movement. It is also about motivating the movement to achieve more. It is at a day of celebration, education, advocacy and action, all at the same time.
This year, the World Earth Day theme is ‘Restore Our Earth’: “as the world returns to normal, we can’t go back to business-as-usual,” reads the slogan.
The occasion begins with a global youth climate summit of the 20th April, featuring numerous activists including the great – and seemingly ubiquitous – Greta Thunberg. That same day, there is to be a virtual summit called ‘We Shall Breathe,’ organised by Hip Hop Caucus. The summit will connect the fights for climate and racial justice.
“The same Black and Brown voters that decided the election for President Biden, are the same communities that have been most impacted by environmental injustice and who are most threatened by climate disaster,” Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr, President and Founder of Hip Hop Caucus said.
“Teach for the Planet: Global Education Summit”
“This Earth Day, we expect President Biden to reinforce our affirmation that ‘We Shall Breathe’ by announcing bold climate action based on equity and justice domestically and globally.”
On the 21st, there will run a ‘Teach for the Planet: Global Education Summit,’ and, the following day, Joe Biden is hosting 40 World Leaders at a specially arranged climate conference, which will be streamed for public viewing. It’s a packed schedule, with an emphasis on action and education.
World Earth Day and You
And what can you do this World Earth Day? Well, tuning into events would be a good place to start. Education is a big theme running through this year’s programme (knowledge is power, after all), and we can all always learn more.
Another big theme is activated. Real, fundamental climate action is going to take proper engagement from governments and third-party actors. The Biden-run summit must commit to targets, not just be part of the celebrations. We want action, not some sort of show.
So write to your elected officials, the politicians who represent you, and lobby for change.
As individuals, we all need to be addressing our carbon footprint. One Tribe team member Hazel recently wrote a great article with some tips for how to go about doing this.
Likewise, as Krista has emphasised, our consumption habits are another area where we can all no doubt improve this World Earth Day.
We can all do our bit, but the global climate fight is indeed a global fight, and being morally unimpeachable on your own is not enough – we’ve got to advocate for collective change.
World Earth Day and Us
World Earth Day is an occasion for all in the climate community to come together to learn, teach, advocate and act. This has been the goal since 1970, and it remains the goal today.
If you’re interested in getting educated and want to hear about how businesses and consumers can do better in the battle against climate change, then we at One Tribe will be hosting an Instagram live session on the 22nd of April with Walk London.
Our Head of Growth, Tom Rickey will be speaking to Walk London in what is sure to be an interesting chat. So, if you’re keen to know more about him, us, Walk London and the climate crisis this World Earth Day, you know where to go.
And finally, think of Earth Day as the start of something, not just a single day. You might be inspired to change some habits that are damaging to the environment, or commit to taking positive steps to restore our earth, every day.
Join the tribe!
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