Today, more than 192 countries from across the world will celebrate Earth Day, to remind people that our planet is a precious resource and needs to be protected from climate change.
“More than one billion people around the world will take part in the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day. Communities everywhere will voice their concerns for the planet, and take action to protect it”, organisers said.
In 1970, the environmental movement was still in its infancy, and grew alongside peaceful protests by students and activists against the Vietnam War.
On April 22 that year, Gaylord Nelson, a US senator from Wisconsin, was inspired by the student movement and the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill to create Earth Day.
Millions of people took the streets, asking for greater protection of vulnerable ecosystems from climate change – which at the time was not properly understood by most decision-makers – pollution, pesticides, deforestation and oil spills.
Since then, millions of people celebrate Earth Day each year, and even though priorities have changed since 1970 – global warming and cleaner energy are arguably the most urgent issues now – the message is always the same: we need to fight for a safe, healthy planet and stop thinking that this is ‘not our business’, because it is.
“Climate change has many faces”, says the Earth Day network.
“For many, climate change can often seem remote and hazy – a vague and complex problem far off in the distance that our grandchildren may have to solve. But that’s only because they’re still fortunate enough to be insulated from its mounting consequences.
“Climate change has very real effects on people, animals, and the ecosystems and natural resources on which we all depend.”