Earth Day was first celebrated in the
USA on April 22.1970.It is widely
regarded as the beginning of modern environment movement. Wisconsin Senator
Gaylord Nelson was the founder. His idea was “to create an all-day” teach in”
on environment issues. April 22 was also the birthday of conservationist John Muir.(Also Lenin’s
birthday).Inspired by the student
anti-war movement ,Nelson realized that
if he could combine student energy with the emerging public consciousness about the environment , then it could be propelled
into the national political agenda. Law-makers
and business leaders are turning a blind
eye to the impending environmental crisis caused by human actions Earth day
celebration is a strategy: To co-ordinate teach-ins where citizens will gather to learn about
local issues , and develop the civic engagement techniques to take action
. We need to engage in public policy so
that we achieve the change we need. What kind of technology we want , what kind
of green jobs that we need to create ,what kind of policies and laws we need to
nurture sustainable development..
Gaylord Nelson died in 2005 at the age of 89 years .In 2002 , The institute for Environment Studies in the university
Wisconsin ( Madison) was named Nelson
Institute for Environmental Studies.
Nelson also wrote a book “Beyond Earth Day :Fulfilling the Promise”. In its foreword , Robert F. Kennedy Jr. wrote:” You show me pollution and I will show you people who are not paying their own way , people who are stealing from public , people who are getting the public to pay their costs of production. All environmental pollution is a subsidy”.
Theme of Earth day 2017 is “Environmental and Climate Literacy”. We can be very high scorers in our academic examinations but we may not have literacy of environment and climate change .The idea of Earth day 2017 is to impart this special literacy to the school and college students from April 22 to April 29.Earth Day network has kept a goal of Global climate and environmental literacy by April , 2020. Earth Day is now observed in 192 countries.. Ultimately , all education is meant to result in citizen action .”Literacy is the engine that will propel people beyond becoming just voters and advocates but also accelerating green technologies and jobs”.
This earth day marks the first anniversary of the signing of the Paris Agreement on climate change.It was signed on April22,2016 , exactly one year back.
A special flag has been associated with Earth Day.It has photograph of the whole Earth taken during Apollo 10 space mission in 1969.Dr. Margarat Mead , a world famous cultural anthropologist, carried the Earth Flag with her wherever she appeared from 1969 until her death in 1977.It has a dark blue field made from recyclable polyester.
Humans are consuming natural resources at an alarming rate. In the past couple of decades , we have consumed more resources annually than the Earth can replenish. This is unsustainable .It will cripple the planet and threaten the living conditions of future generations. We have to reduce the individual ecological foot print.
What is greenhouse effect?
The earth gets energy from the sun, heats up and then gives off energy in a different form , called infra-red radiation.Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere trap some of this energy before it escapes to outer space , warming the atmosphere. But people’s activities are adding extra greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.So the greenhouse effect is becoming stronger and the Earth is getting warmer.
Carbondioxide levels are rising and this leads to temperature increase.
Signs of Global warming and climate change:
1.Rise in sea levels.
On this Earth Day , we need to focus on local environmental issues as well as global issue of climate change. What are the next steps that we must take:
1.Hold a teach-in in your community.
2.Hold a tree plantation event in your community.or donate to plant a tree.Deforestation contributes to species extinction and poverty and is responsible for up to 15% of the global greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change.Planting trees is one of the easiest and most important ways to fight climate change.
3.Start a group on facebook and start an active dialogue. Provide people with an opportunity to make their voices heard.
4.Invite questions from the audience.
5.What are our views and proposals about policies related to climate change and environment?
6.Use less paper.
7.Recycle your bags for shopping .
8.Reduce the amount of energy that you consume.
9.Eat less meat .The meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man –made greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.Limit your meat consumption .Barbara Hendricks , Germany’s Environment Minister announce on 21 February , 2017 that her ministry” will no longer be serving meat , fish or meat-derived products at official functions because vegetarian food is more climate-friendly than meat and fish.”
10.Create healthy Indoor air quality in schools.
11.Find ways to protect hearing and health of kids against noise pollution .
12.Count down your Carbon foot print .Individual as well as collective efforts are needed.
13.Reduce waste in school.Reduce waste of paper.Reduce wastage of food.Reduce wastage of water and electricity.Turn off lights when you leave a room .Turn off your computer and other electronic devices when you are not using them .Buy items with less packaging .
14.Donate clothes , books and food.
15.Drive less.Walk more, use bike and public transport more.
16.Recycle paper.63% of paper in the USA is recycled.However , paper can only be recycled if each person makes an effort to dispose it of properly in recycle bins.On an average , a person in the US uses more than 700 pounds of paper every year
17.Stop using disposable plastic.Take the pledge to stop using disposable plastic—bags , bottles , packages.Only about 10% of this plastic is properly recycled and reused.The rest ends up as waste in landfills or as litter in our natural environment , where it leaches dangerous chemicals into the nearby soil and water ,endangering human and wildlife alike.
18.Human population needs to be controlled .
19.Open air nuclear weapons tests and nuclear fallout.
20.DDT, Pesticides , Chemical fertilizers need to be eliminated.Organic farming must beencouraged.
21.Death of rivers is taking place by getting mixed up with the industrial toxic materials.
22.Phase out Thermal power plants and instal solar power plants.
23.Protect forests, national parks
24.Increase your knowledge of Sustainable goals.There are 17 Sustainable development Goals (SDGs) out of which , the following six pertain to environment and climate change.
SDG6:Clean water and sanitation.
SDG7:Affordable and clean energy
SDG12:Responsible consumption and production .
SDG14:Life below water
SDG15:Life on Land
Let us resolve on the Earth day to make every cirtizen of
India literate on issues related to
environment and climate change by 2020.