Earth Day – April 22nd, 2021
This year marks the 51st anniversary of Earth Day. With the need to protect our planet being greater than ever, EARTHDAY.ORG, the world’s largest recruiter to the environmental movement, are coordinating a wide range of events around the world. They will be demonstrating how we can reduce our environmental footprint and repair the damage that has already been done during our climate crisis. Their aim is to empower individuals with the tools and information required to make an impact and motivate change, believing it’s a necessity that each and every one of us work together towards protecting our planet.
Earth Day has been celebrated every year on April 22nd since 1970. On that day, Gaylord Nelson, a United States senator from Wisconsin, organized a national demonstration to raise awareness about environmental issues. 20 million Americans took to the streets to show their support and to demonstrate against the impacts of years of industrial development that was contributing to a legacy of serious human health impacts. Until this point, most Americans were largely unaware of environmental concerns and knew little about how a polluted environment could threaten people’s health. Nowadays, this special day is widely regarded as the largest secular observance in the world. Over 1 billion people in more than 193 countries participate in festivities to increase awareness of environmental problems such as pollution and deforestation.
“Restore Our Earth” is the theme for 2021’s series of events being run by earthday.org from April 20-22. There will be workshops, discussions and performances with a focus on how we can restore the world’s ecosystems. Natural processes that can be used, emerging green technologies, and innovative thinking will be discussed along with many other topics such as regenerative agriculture, reforestation efforts and climate and environmental literacy. You can visit earthday.org here to see a catalog of the events.
Making every day Earth Day.
Thinking about Earth Day and the crisis that we find ourselves in with climate change, I found myself looking back on Ed McGaa’s book “Mother Earth Spirituality,” that I had researched for a previous post titled “What on earth can I do?” Believing that the earth is sacred and that every day is earth day, McGaa discusses how we can all benefit from the spiritual perspective Native Americans have with regard to Mother Earth, as they refer to her, in order to save our planet from ecological disaster.
Realizing that so many of us view ourselves as separate to the earth, he stresses that all of existence is interconnected and emphasizes that “Mother earth is our most intimate relation…from whom and where we have all come”. He goes on to say, “A person depends every moment of every day upon Mother Earth. We breathe her air into our lungs, we drink her waters, we eat her nutrients…the flow between nature and ourself is always in process. If there were no rocks, my body would have no minerals and I would die. If there were no sun, the plants would not grow and I would die. If there were no water my cells would dry up and I would die… separation between us and nature is a mirage. What we do to the earth, we do to ourselves …. We must save the earth if we are to save ourselves.”
I understand that change in habits can take time but if, as a collective, we can strive to remember all of these things on a daily basis, we can work to make every day Earth Day in our lives too. With each of us playing our part in whatever ways we can, we can take on the greatest challenge that humankind has ever faced and slow down climate change. I have included some links at the end of this page that we can all learn and find messages of hope from.
Global Climate Summit
On Earth Day 2021, the Biden Administration will be hosting a global climate summit with 40 world leaders attending virtually. President Biden will be underlining the urgency and the economic benefits of stronger climate action. With scientists emphasizing the need to limit planetary warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius to prevent the worst impacts of climate change, a key goal of the Summit will be to inspire efforts that keep that 1.5-degree goal within reach. There will also be discussions on other topics such as, how to help vulnerable countries adapt to the impacts of climate change and on how enhanced climate ambition will bring about good paying jobs and advance innovative technologies. President Biden has also said that this special event will be aimed at convincing countries to strengthen their greenhouse gas reduction pledges. You can find additional key themes of the summit here.
“Our Planet” is a wonderful Netflix documentary series that discusses tips for small changes we can all make. It also includes incredible videos from the Broadcaster and natural historian Sir David Attenborough on his research. You can find the links here and here.
A very informative interview with Dr. Jane Goodall, the primatologist and ecological activist, including a message of hope.
"Roots and Shoots" is an inspiring organisation founded by Dr. Jane Goodall. Its aim is to empower young people all over the world to make positive changes in their communities.