Earth Day 2017: Environmental & Climate Literacy
The first ever Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970, it activated 20 million Americans from all walks of life and is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement. The passage of the landmark Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and many other groundbreaking environmental laws soon followed that very first Earth Day celebration. Twenty years later, Earth Day went global, mobilising 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. This year Earth Day is all about ‘Education’, which the team believe is the foundation for progress.
The 2017 educational focus is founded on the desire to build a global citizenry fluent in the concepts of climate change and aware of its unprecedented threat to our planet. The Earth Day team believe we need to empower everyone with the knowledge to inspire action in defense of environmental protection, and this is something I totally agree with! Environmental and climate literacy is the engine not only for creating green voters and advancing environmental and climate laws and policies but also for accelerating green technologies and jobs.
This Earth Day.
To be a part of the 3 Billion Acts of Green that Earth Day hope to inspire people to commit across the globe you can head on over to the website and pledge to commit one. There are a variety of acts to choose from. You can:
- Plant a Tree or Donate to Plant a Tree: If you don’t have space to plant your own Earth Day have you covered for a dollar or more. Through the Canopy Project, Earth Day Network works on the ground with organizations worldwide that strengthen communities through tree planting. Using sapling and seed distribution, urban forestry, agroforestry, and tree care training, they have empowered rural and urban people alike to conserve, repair, and restore tree cover to their lands. I’ve personally opted to donate in the past and it’s a good feeling.
- March for Science: Earth Day Network is co-organising, with the March for Science, the rally and teach-in event on the National Mall on Earth Day 2017. This year’s event and campaign will fight against efforts to silence science and focus on creating and supporting knowledge sharing, community engagement, citizen science and stewardship. While the central hub for this campaign is Washington, DC. there are other marches happening across the globe. If all goes well I’m hoping to attend the Brisbane event. Click here to register for marches across Australia.
- Reduce your Ecological Footprint: Humans are consuming natural resources at an alarming rate. For the past couple of decades we have consumed more resources annually than the Earth can replenish. Today humans consume the equivalent of 1.5 planets’ worth of resources every year and, unless something changes, we are expected to consume 2 planets’ worth of resources by 2050! The Earth Day team challenge you to take the Ecological footprint quiz and find out ways that you can reduce your impact today!
- Meatless Mondays: With the Meat Industry responsible for 20% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions Earth Day encourage you to cut back. Unfortunately global meat consumption has tripled over the last four decades and the meat industry now emits over 36 billion tons of greenhouse gases annually and is showing no signs of slowing down. They believe that if we want to make a real dent in the world’s carbon footprint and reduce our own personal footprint, we need to eat less meat. This Earth Day you can pledge to cut back- even for just one meatless day a week- and help reduce your negative environmental impact.
- Quit Disposable Plastics: Currently about 300 million tons of plastic are produced each year to make bags, bottles, packages, and other commodities for people all over the world. Unfortunately, only about ten percent of this plastic is properly recycled and reused. The rest ends up as waste in landfills or as litter in our natural environment, where it leaches dangerous chemicals into the nearby soil and water, endangering humans and wildlife alike. This Earth Day you can pledge to cut down your usage of this damaging material and help protect the planet we rely on.
- Choose your own pledge: If you have something else you want to commit to Earth Day celebrates your creative thinking with their ‘choose your own pledge’ option. My suggestion is taking a break from shopping for clothing and accessories. I spent one year on a break and learnt so much about myself, my style, and the relationship I have with my clothes.