Earth Day is an annual day on which events are held worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Earth Day is observed on April 22 each year. Earth Day is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network, and is celebrated in more than 192 countries every year.
The name and concept of Earth Day was pioneered by John McConnell in 1969 at a UNESCO Conference in San Francisco. He proposed March 21, 1970, the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere. This day of nature's equipoise was later sanctioned in a Proclamation signed by Secretary General U Thant at the United Nations. A month later a separate Earth Day was founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in first held on April 22, 1970.
While this April 22 Earth Day was focused on the United States, an organization launched by Denis Hayes, who was the original national coordinator in 1970, took it international in 1990 and organized events in 141 nations. Numerous communities celebrate Earth Week, an entire week of activities focused on environmental issues.
Today is Earth Day! Over one billion people in 192 countries are participating from London to Sao Paolo, Seoul to Babylon City, New Delhi to New York, Rome to Cairo; people everywhere are taking action in their communities and helping depict The Face of Climate Change.
How can you get involved? Attend an Earth Day event in your community, start doing something to lower your carbon footprint, and take a photo of yourself being part of the solution and upload it to The Face of Climate Change Wall.
Earth Day is 43 years' old today, a milestone marked by one of Google's annual doodles dedicated to the event. The day of environmental awareness has been marked by a Google doodle for as long as I can remember, from melting polar ice in 2007 (a prophetic nod to the record Arctic melt that year), rocks in 2008, a waterfall and marine life in 2009 to parrots in 2010, pandas in 2011 and animated flowers in 2012.
There are a pair of bears in a cave and, if you click the hole near the front, a badger pops out – is this Google's pre-emptive strike against the government's plan to resume its delayed badger cull this summer in a bid to tackle bovine TB? Probably not, but it's cute nonetheless.
Google's no stranger to environmental efforts, of course. It's funded a stack of renewable energy projects - though in 2011 it quietly shelved one effort, RE<C, which hoped to see renewable energy become cheaper than coal - and in 2011 the internet giant published its carbon footprint for the first time. Turns out it's the equivalent of the United Nations, or a little higher than the emissions of Laos.
Earth Day, born in the US in 1970, was the creation in large part of Gaylord Nelson, a US senator and Democrat, who died in 2005. It is designed to "[activate] individuals and organizations to strengthen the collective fight against man's exploitive relationship with the planet." Denis Hayes, the national coordinator of that first day, said a few years back that he thought the day had achieved many of its aims.
"Beyond any doubt," he said in 2009, "today the basic core values are vastly more 'green,' if you will, than they were in the 60's and 70's." But with a recent global poll showing that public concern over environmental problems such as climate change and biodiversity loss is its lowest in 20 years, it's clear that there's still a need for Earth Day.
Wondering what’s happening around the world? Here are just a few of the events taking place:
In Copenhagen, Denmark—as well as in six other cities on five continents—the Danish Cultural Institute is organizing its annual CO 2 Green Drive Project in honor of Earth Day. Runners, walkers, bikers, and skaters are using their cities as canvasses to spell “CO 2“ with GPS devices.
5,000 miles to the northeast, in Ghana, The Rural Education and Development Programme (REDEP) is hosting a three-part event that includes a community clean-up, a “Face of Climate Change” theatre production, and an environmentally-themed essay contest.
A local organization in Jalandhar, India—in coordination with Earth Day Network India—is distributing free saplings to students and hosting a discussion about the effects of climate change and ways to mitigate it.
Meanwhile in Seoul, South Korea, Ecomom Korea is organizing an “Eco-style” Earth Day Flash Mob, a variation of the popular song “Gangnam Style,” as well as hosting an Earth Day Walkathon and an Earth Day exhibition, which will showcase The Face of Climate Change photo display.
In Santa Barbara, California, thousands of people attended the local Earth Day Festival, which included live music, speakers, a Green Car Show, and special awards given to Van Jones and Bill Nye.
In Veracruz, Mexico, Tortugas Fundacion Yepez is mobilizing volunteers to protect the habitat of sea turtles by cleaning up the local beaches and organizing a reforestation campaign.
The Bent Al-Rafedain Organization in Babylon, Iraq—in cooperation with the Department of the Environment—is honoring Earth Day by documenting the sources of pollution in their community and organizing a media campaign to educate residents and encourage government officials to reduce pollution.
Far away in Chuuk, Micronesia, Xavier High School is hosting an Earth Day Conference with the theme “The Face of Climate Change” that will feature a neighborhood clean-up, speakers, educational workshops, and an environmentally-themed school song competition.