As the climate crisis becomes ever more serious, each Earth Day that comes along takes on extra significance.
Figures show that global CO2 emissions are now back at above pre-pandemic levels, despite all the talk of “nature healing” when countries around the world went into lockdown.
Considering that we need to dramatically cut emissions by an estimated 45 per cent by 2030 to keep global warming to 1.5°C, the magnitude of the challenge we’re facing is clear.
This annual event brings together millions of people from around the world in support of the environment, highlighting the urgent action we need to take to save our planet.
What is Earth Day about?
Marked by millions around the world, Earth Day is an annual event designed to shine a light on the serious environmental problems we’re facing, from the climate crisis to air pollution and deforestation. For Earth Day 2021, US president Joe Biden has invited 40 world leaders to take part in a virtual summit on 22 and 23 April to highlight the urgency for stronger climate action, which will be live-streamed.
When was the first Earth Day?
The original Earth Day was founded by US senator and environmentalist Gaylord Nelson in 1970 to highlight the importance of clean air and clean water, following a 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. The event saw an astonishing 20 million people across the US taking to the streets — around 10 per cent of the country’s population at the time.
What is this year’s theme?
Fittingly, this year’s theme is Restore Our Earth, which focuses not only on the need to reduce our impact on the planet as we recover from the effects of Covid-19, but also how we can play a role in repairing the damage we’ve done.
How can you take part in Earth Day?
There are thousands of events taking place, both online and in person— find out what’s happening near you via their map.
Organisers have also produced a handy toolkit to help you get involved, whether that’s organising a teach-in to educate people on the challenges we’re facing or a clean-up, considering the increased pollution we’ve seen from single-use masks and gloves during the pandemic.
You can also tune into Earth Day Live 2021, a live-streamed event that will include workshops, panel discussions and a series of guest appearances (last year’s event featured the likes of actors Jane Fonda and Joaquin Phoenix).
NASA’s Earth Day Virtual Event
From April 21-24, anyone can join the free, online event that includes live panel discussions and chats with NASA Earth science experts, as well as on-demand content, such as coloring pages and activity sheets, eBooks and downloadable posters, Meet a Scientist videos, and information on how you can be a scientist for NASA.
There’s also an online scavenger hunt to kick off #GrowForLaunch, a chance to learn more about the plants grown in space and how you can start your own garden.
Online registration is free and open now.
The Global Earth Challenge
This is the world’s largest ever coordinated citizen science campaign.
That uses a mobile app to collect billions of observations in air quality, water quality, insect populations, climate change, plastic pollution and food sustainability, providing valuable environmental insight and a platform for policy change in these areas.”
Fight climate change with diet change
Discover the impact of your foodprint. It measures the environmental impacts associated with the growing, producing, transporting, and storing of our food— from the natural resources consumed to the pollution produced to the greenhouse gases emitted.
Calculate how your meals affect the planet.
Choose ways you can make an impact. Join in!
Acknowledgement for some of the text: Vogue.com