Each year April 22nd is celebrated worldwide as the Earth Day since 1970. After witnessing the massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin initiated this earth day campaign across the US. On April 22,1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.
This initiative was big enough to get the attention of the whole world towards the Earth Day campaign and by the year 2000 Earth Day had reached into its current status as the largest secular observance in the world, celebrated by more than a billion people every year, and a day of action that changes human behavior and provokes policy changes.
Today, the fight for a clean environment continues with increasing urgency, as the ravages of climate change become more manifest every day. We invite you to be a part of Earth Day and help write many more chapters—struggles and victories—into the Earth Day book.
End Plastic Pollution
Earth Day Network, the organization that leads Earth Day worldwide on April 22, announced that Earth Day 2018 will focus on mobilizing the world to End Plastic Pollution, including creating support for a global effort to eliminate single use plastics along with uniform regulation for the disposal of plastics. EDN will educate millions of people about the health and other risks associated with the use and disposal of plastics, including pollution of our oceans, water, and wildlife, and about the growing body of evidence that decomposing plastics are creating serious global health problems.
From poisoning and injuring marine life to the ubiquitous presence of plastics in our food to disrupting human hormones and causing major life-threatening diseases and early puberty, the exponential growth of plastics is threatening our planet’s survival. EDN has built a multi-year campaign to End Plastic Pollution. Their goals include ending single use plastics, promoting alternatives to fossil fuel-based materials, promoting 100 percent recycling of plastics, corporate and government accountability and changing human behavior concerning plastics.
“There is a growing tidal wave of interest in ending plastic pollution and some countries and governments are already in the vanguard. Earth Day Network believes we can turn that tidal wave into a permanent solution to plastics pollution,” said Kathleen Rogers, President of EDN.
EDN’s End Plastic Pollution campaign includes four major components:
- Leading a grassroots movement to support the adoption of a global framework to regulate plastic pollution;
- Educating, mobilizing and activating citizens across the globe to demand that governments and corporations control and clean up plastic pollution;
- Educating people worldwide to take personal responsibility for plastic pollution by choosing to reject, reduce, reuse and recycle plastics, and
- Promoting local government regulatory and other efforts to tackle plastic pollution.
Earth Day Network will leverage the platform of Earth Day and the growing interest in the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day in 2020 as a catalyst for global action.
“We will mobilize our global network of NGOs, grassroots organizations, campus youth, mayors and other local elected leaders, faith leaders, artists and athletes, and students and teachers to build a world of educated consumers, voters and activists of all ages who understand the environmental, climate and health consequences of using plastic,” said Rogers.