Every 22 April since 1970, the global community has gathered together to celebrate Earth Day – an event which demonstrates support for environmental protection. This year, the event is even more high profile as the historic Paris Agreement is due to be signed by more than 120 countries, bringing into force a climate protection treaty to ensure the long-term future of the planet.
How did it all begin?
There were a number of movements starting in the late 1960s but it was a Federal proclamation from US Senator Gaylord Nelson that created the first Earth Day. He had been impressed by how the anti-war movement had mobilised and wanted to do something similar in order to raise awareness of environmental issues. More than 2,000 colleges and universities throughout the United States participated along with 10,000 primary schools. It is thought that 20 million Americans took part in peaceful marches and protests, raising the profile of environmental issues forever.
Why April 22nd?
April 22nd doesn’t have any particular significance in terms of the Earth itself but more to do with term times. The day was conceived as an environmental teach-in and that day slotted in perfectly to the gap between the spring break and the beginning of exams, which meant the student bodies would be free to participate fully. Coincidentally, it’s also the birthday of renowned environmental philosopher and writer John Muir.
What impact did it have?
From its beginnings as an event only marked in the United States, Earth Day went global and the 1990 event featured more than 200 million participants. Today, the organisation has more than 50,000 partners and events running in 196 countries. The increased awareness of environmental issues has resulted in real change with the Earth Day movement credited for a range of legislation including the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act.
What happens on the day?
Earth Day 2016 is particularly special as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has invited every world leader to join him in signing the Paris Climate Agreement agreed negotiated last December. This is hugely significant with countries agreeing to attempt to limit the temperature rise to just 2°C.
In addition, there are a huge number of events taking place throughout the world. In St. Kitts and Nevis there are plans to plant a tree for each of the 55,000 citizens. In Sicily, there’s a weekend long festival taking place in Capo D’Orlando which aims to teach people how to live their lives more sustainably. Earth Day will feature a whole range of events including a Community Fayre in Kingsbury where locals purchase homemade crafts, enjoy games and watch informative and educational environmental films.
Even if there are no events close to you, you can still be involved and download information packs from the Earth Day website and find out what you can do to help your local area.
What is the future?
Just as in the 1970s, we face an uncertain environmental future. There is the looming threat of global warming and a need to find ways to be more carbon neutral in order to preserve life on Earth as we know it. In order to meet this challenge, Earth Day will launch their Trees for the Earth campaign which pledges to plant 7.8 million trees over the next 5 years. This should highlight the problems of deforestation with the planet currently losing a staggering 15 billion trees each year. The campaign is just the first of five pledges to celebrate the 50th year of the movement with more to be revealed as the clock ticks down to the milestone.
How you can support Earth Day
As a blu user you can help to protect the environment and prolong the health of our planet. If you’re a former smoker then you’re already doing your bit by helping to reduce the amount of litter caused by the disposal of cigarette butts. Want to do more? You can help the planet that extra bit by recycling your old batteries and the packaging which comes with your blu e-cigs. We do our best to make sure all of our products are environmentally friendly, but by recycling your old bits you can help even more. Let’s help keep the planet green (and blu)!
Are you participating in an Earth Day event? Tell us all about it on Facebook or Twitter.