Image Credit: The Island’s Sounder
What is Earth Day?
Annually, more than one billion people throughout 93 countries worldwide celebrate Earth Day on April 22. It’s considered the most significant global observance, bringing together changemakers like you to demonstrate support for policy changes at an international, national, and community levels to protect and preserve our environment, climate, and resources.
Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin set up a bi-partisan movement to raise public awareness of the damaging effects of air and water pollution. Together with Congressman Pete McCloskey and activist Denis Hayes, their influence led to the first-ever Earth Day on April 22, 1970.
That first Earth Day inspired over 20 million Americans of different political backgrounds, walks of life, and economic classes to join forces and demonstrate against the years of industrial mismanagement devastating our waterways and the environment while destroying our health. We now understand that we're all connected to these delicate habitats and ecosystems, relying on them for survival. That one day led to the creation of:
- The United States Environmental Protection Agency
- National Environmental Education Act
- Occupational Safety and Health Act
- Clean Air Act.
Within the next few years and with public interest ever-increasing, Congress passed the Clean Water Act, followed by the Endangered Species Act and Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.
Earth Day Celebrations Around the World
Public organized events, nonprofit fundraisers, and classroom curriculums facilitate education to help people from youthful to wise take action almost everywhere. Things are a little different this year, so log onto your city’s websites and social media accounts before heading out.
While we can’t list every country that celebrates Earth Day, here are a few notable events from around the world.
Copenhagen celebrates Earth Day near Christiansborg Castle Square, lkoimages/Shutterstock (Business Insider)
The capital of Denmark is one of Europe’s greenest cities. Their action plan includes being carbon neutral by 2025. This year, the events will look a little different, but you’ll still have a chance to plant trees, sing songs, and make some family memories.
Nashville, aka Music City, celebrates Earth Day at Centennial Park, KennStilger47/Shutterstock (Business Insider)
Earth Day festivals in Nashville’s Centennial Park have family-friendly exhibits, live acoustic music, yoga, family-friendly Storybook Walk, and more. It’s Free! So, go and support small sustainable businesses and local growers & food vendors at the Green Market.
Tokyo, Japan's Earth Day celebrations are held at Yoyogi Park from April 17-25, Anna Lee via Flickr (Mental Floss)
Almost 100,000 visitors and families join Tokyo’s Earth Day celebrations at the open-air markets in Yoyogi Park. Look for eco-friendly stalls, get educated on sustainable action, and take in the art and music. Don’t forget to look for NGOs, NPOs, and other environmental charities to lend support.
Portland, aka the Rose City, celebrates Earth Day at the Learning Garden Laboratory on Portland State University Campus, KennStilger47/Shutterstock (Business Insider)
Portland is already excited about their solar-powered hotels and slowing-down of fast fashion with an abundance of thrift stores. This year, check out celebrations at Washington Square, join in Macy’s Blue Bag Event, or head over to Gresham to help clean up Beaver Creek.
Lisbon, Portugal was awarded 'Europe's Green City' in 2020, Expat Explore
This year, if you want to celebrate Earth Day in Lisbon while socially distancing, hop on a bike. Lisbon is well on its way to becoming a carbon-neutral city by 2050, in part because of eco-friendly initiatives like bike-sharing and e-bikes. It’s a hilly city, though, so stretch those calves!
10 Ways to Be an Earth Hero Wherever You Are
Photograph (left) by MAICA, Getty Images; Photograph (right) by FUSE, Getty Images
Green it up!
Plant a tree, garden, or flowers. Trees are one of our greatest assets providing necessary oxygen and habitat to local wildlife. A little-known fact about trees is that the more there are, lining your neighborhood streets, the slower people drive. So, you get fresh air, birds, and a safer place for the kiddos.
Don’t forget about the pollinators. Research your area’s native plants to support an ever-decreasing bee population. Then plant a bee-friendly garden, hang plants for hummingbirds, and select from lists to entice butterflies into your yard, too.
Reduce, Recycle and Reuse (and Compost!)
Replace things as needed, starting with the worst culprits, instead of overwhelming yourself with the entire kitchen, laundry, and bathroom at once. Next Earth Day, tally your savings.
Did you know that 11% of GHGs come from rotting food in the dumps? That’s the equivalent of 37 million cars annually.
Pro-tip: give shampoo and conditioner bars a try. You’ll be surprised at how long they last! Plus, you'll never have to worry about suctioning back in the excess shampoo because you ran out of coffee.
Switch to energy efficient light bulbs
Buy quality, and you'll only buy it once—or at least a lot less often. Energy-efficient bulbs can last as much as 3 to 25x longer than incandescent bulbs, using 25 to 80% less energy.
If you spend twice as much on a bulb but get more than double the return, that's a bargain!
Volunteer with local environment groups that hold clean ups.
Beach clean-ups make you feel good just knowing you've contributed to the lives of every single critter relying on the ocean from plankton to apex species, sea birds and people, too.
Switch to eBills
By switching to eBills, you’ll save 6lbs of paper, 23lbs of wood, and 29lbs of GHGs.
Use alternative transportation such as bicycles or walking
Create a cultural shift every time you ride your bike in and out of your neighborhood! Lead by example!
Switch to reusable shopping bags
Reusable bags help vulnerable communities, reduce water-borne diseases, cut down on ocean litter and flooding.
Skip the fast fashion
One by one, detox your closet with ethical bamboo clothing. Then donate your clothes to a local nonprofit.
Fix your leaky faucets
A few drops every minute grows to a massive 500 gallons of water by the end of the year. With one quick fix, and you'll save a bundle while preventing mold and mildew from the sweaty pipes.
Ditch plastic straws for good
Eight million tons of water bottles and 7.5 million straws pollute our waterways and oceans here in the U.S., making up only 1% of the total plastic pollution.
If you've seen the turtle video, make this Thursday your day to help her and her family. No one wants a straw stuck in their nose. Ouch!
Celebrating Earth Day is Important
Here at SWZLE, every day is Earth Day. We provide better alternatives to plastic waste with colorful reusable stainless-steel straws dressed in stylish carrying cases, as well as stainless-steel tumblers, and water bottles.
Join SWZLE and make a case for a change!