This Sunday, April 22nd is the 48th annual Earth Day, the largest environmental movement in the world. The original event in 1970 was the first time people gathered enmasse to promote ecological awareness. Celebrations, volunteer opportunities, and events focusing on the environment will be held all around Silicon Valley to drive home the importance of how we treat our planet.
Forty-eight years ago in the midst of the war in Vietnam, smog poisoned our air and gas-guzzling automobiles crowded our roads. Earth Day founder and then US Senator of Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson, mobilized the energy from the student anti-war movement with a fledgling awareness of the negative impacts of pollution. Spurred on after seeing the enduring damage caused by the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, he enlisted the help of other politicians and educators to promote a national “environmental teach-in.”
On April 22, 1970, 20 million protested the pollution caused by 150 years of industrial development. This inaugural awakening that our environment is detrimentally impacted by how we humans live has propelled Earth Day to grow to over 1 billion people strong in 192 countries. By the end of 1970, the first Earth Day had led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.
Forty-eight years later, Earth Day remains a day of action and mindfulness with a goal to change human behaviors and incite changes in policies to help protect our planet. The 2018 event will focus on eliminating plastics pollution, something that poisons, injures and kills marine life, litters our waterways, beaches, roads and landscapes, clogs our landfills and also is damaging to the chemical and hormonal balances of humans.
There are Earth day events occurring all around the Silicon Valley. Click on the links below for more information on events in your local area. (For Eventbrite, enter the specific city to find events near you.)
Earth Day shouldn’t just be one day each year but a state of mind each and every day. One of the best things we as individuals can do is assess our personal plastics footprint. The Earth Day website has a plastic consumption calculator, helping you determine the total number of plastic items you use during a year. They also have an action toolkit to guide you to minimizing (or possibly eliminating) your personal use of plastics.
Even if you are unable to join an event, there are simple, easy things you can do to help:
- Use environmentally friendly, non-toxic cleaning products
- Recycle paper, plastic and glass
- Read documents online instead of printing them or print double sided
- Compost kitchen food scraps
- Skip the straw and drink straight from a reusable glass
- Use LED light bulbs in your home
- Volunteer for local environmental groups and/or make a monetary donations
- Turn off and unplug all appliances not in use (including your computer)
For a complete list of ways you can help, click here.
The Dawn Thomas Team encourages you to make a difference, no matter how small. By taking the time to recycle, reuse, and reclaim, to turn off lights, buy food from local farmer’s markets, use LED lighting in your home, or use public transportation, we can all reduce our individual impact on the Earth.