In the weeks leading up to Earth Day, I’ve been watching a lot of nature documentaries. In addition to conditioning myself to trust everything David Attenborough says, I’ve gained a renewed appreciation for all the wonderful and weird things that exist in nature. If you enjoy the Planet Earth series, keep an eye out for the BBC’s newest wildlife mini-series; Dynasties dedicates an entire episode each to five well-known endangered species. This focus goes nicely with the Earth Day Network’s 2019 theme: Protect Our Species.
Earth Day is 49 years old this year (expect a big 50th Anniversary event in 2020). The annual observance started in 1970 as a protest against pollution and environmental deterioration. There was massive participation in rallies all over the country, kick-starting some impressive political change. The following months saw the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and major amendments to the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, all before the end of the year.
Since that first year, Earth Day has expanded into a global event, observed by more than 1 billion people in 192 countries. As the world and its environmental concerns change, so does the focus of the Earth Day Network. These days, their main concerns are dealing with the impacts of climate change, ending plastic pollution, and protecting endangered species.
People celebrate Earth Day in many ways. Some easy things you can do to be a bit greener today (or any day) include investing in a reusable water bottle or coffee mug, replacing old lightbulbs with energy efficient ones, using reusable grocery bags, planting a vegetable garden, and walking, biking, or using public transportation. Eau Claire Transit is providing free bus rides on all routes today, April 22.
Though Earth Day is a great day to reduce your impact on the planet, it also has the greater long-term goal of effecting lasting change. To learn about ways you can live greener all year or get involved in protecting our planet, go to https://www.epa.gov/earthday or https://www.earthday.org/.