Tomorrow is Earth Day, and East Anglia Bylines will be marking it by resharing some of the articles we have published on climate and the environment.
Earth Day – brief history
Earth Day is celebrated each year on 22 April to show support for environmental protection. It is dedicated not just to raising awareness about our impact on the planet, but also to highlighting the action we need to take now to preserve and protect it.
While Earth Day was first observed in 1970 in the US, it was only in 1990 that it became a global event, with people around the world coming together to take action on issues such as climate change, pollution, and deforestation.
The idea for Earth Day was born out of a growing concern about the impact of pollution and environmental degradation on human health and the natural world. The first Earth Day, held in the US on 22 April 1970, was a massive success, with millions of people taking part in rallies, marches, and educational events across America. Crucially, it led to the creation of a new US environment agency and strengthened regulations for water, air and endangered species.
Earth Day is now celebrated worldwide
Nowadays, Earth Day is celebrated in more than 190 countries around the world, with tens of thousands of associated events. The day serves as a reminder of the critical issues we face, such as climate change, deforestation, plastic pollution, the loss of biodiversity and the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It provides an opportunity for people to come together to take action.
Here in the UK, Earth Day events have included public lectures, panel discussions and educational programmes, as well as locally organised community initiatives ranging from tree planting to litter clean-ups.
One notable Earth Day event in the UK was the “People’s Climate March” held in London in 2015. The march brought together more than 50,000 people from across the country to demand action on climate change ahead of the Paris Climate Agreement negotiations later that year.
Commitments by individuals and governments
In addition to organised events, many individuals and businesses around the country use Earth Day as an opportunity to make pledges or commitments to reduce their environmental impact and increase sustainability. In 2021, for example, the Johnson government announced plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels.
In recent years, Earth Day has taken on even greater significance, as the global community grapples with the challenge of mitigating the impact of climate change. From the Paris Climate Agreement to America’s Inflation Reduction Act and the EU’s proposed Green Industrial Plan, there is a growing recognition of the global action that’s needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transition to a low-carbon economy.
Facing challenges, finding solutions
As we celebrate Earth Day in 2023, it’s clear that the challenges facing the planet are greater than ever before. But it’s also clear that there is reason for hope. From the growth of renewable energy and the associated transition away from fossil fuel dependency to action on plastic pollution, there are many examples of innovative solutions and promising initiatives that are helping to create a cleaner and more sustainable future.
Ultimately, Earth Day is a reminder that we all have a role to play in protecting the planet for future generations. This is echoed in this year’s Earth Day theme: Invest in our Planet. It’s an invitation to us all.
What will your commitment be?
Whether through individual actions such as recycling and reducing our carbon footprint, or through collective action to advocate for policy change and support environmental organisations, we can all make a difference.
East Anglia Bylines will celebrate Earth Day on social media by promoting the best articles we’ve published on a range of topics related to the environment and climate. We’ll share a new one every half hour from 7am to midnight. We hope they’ll inspire you to reflect on what steps you can take to live more sustainably. Each one of us can collectively work to build a brighter, more sustainable future for all.
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