By Oliver Van Aken
51 years ago on April 22, 1970, Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin initiated the first “Earth Day” after he recognized the damage being done to the planet as Americans bought bigger food, bigger cars, and bigger houses. A milestone was reached in 1990 when Earth Day had been introduced in 141 countries. Earth Day promoted the acknowledgement and reaction to climate change and set the stage for the first international Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. However in the modern day, after enduring a global pandemic for the past year, people have had to incorporate new and innovative ways to support the planet while also supporting each other’s health.
Organizations contributed to Earth Day 2021 by hosting virtual programs which allowed people across the globe to appreciate the holiday. For instance, NASA created a program that explored different Earth biomes while explaining the new science and technologies that have benefited the planet. In addition, National Geographic collaborated with various activists, musicians, and storytellers through a video presentation in order to present different ways humans and nature interact. The video has been made available on youtube for anyone interested to watch at any time. President Joe Biden had also invited 40 world leaders to take part in a Climate Summit to discuss environmentalism in the current world situation, parts of the summit where even live streamed to the public.
“I’ve always enjoyed National Geographics documentaries about nature,” junior Alex Willingham said. “I was thrilled to see they came out with an Earth Day special and was very pleased with the video as a whole.”
However, people can and should focus on the environment the other 364 days of the year. The most important things are the little acts that every person can make throughout their day. There are the classic initiatives one can take such as turning off the water faucet when your done, investing in a reusable water bottle, bringing your own bags to the grocery store, and switching to eco-friendly light bulbs. Additionally, routes such as going vegetarian for a day to reduce the impact of the meat industry, the lead contributor to climate change, can minimize your carbon footprint immensely. Another creatively green idea is to make cleaning products from home using household products, which replaces harmful chemicals in the environment with water and vinegar.
“I use my hydroflask to reduce the amount of plastic I consume through water bottles,” sophomore Mariah Santos said. “I also make sure the beauty products I use do not contribute to unethical practices such as animal testing.”
Finally, one of the best ways to make consistent change to better the environment is to educate and spread information to others. It can be as easy as watching as nature documentaries about the effects of humankind or even just resourceful gardening tips. There is only one habitable planet (that we know of), so it is the responsibility of society to assist, preserve, and advance the Earth, and not just on Earth Day.