Just like the planet we inhabit, humans as a species are unlike any other kind in the world. April 22, 1970, marks the day that the human race made the decision to help, rather than hurt our planet; this is the birth of Earth Day.
Earth Day was first started by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson, of Wisconsin, as a sort of “teach-in” day, but has since grown into a recognized worldwide holiday. With 20 million American’s participating in the first Earth Day, in the last 48 years Earth Day has grown to include over a billion people and close to 200 countries.
According to the president of the Earth Day Network, Kathleen Rogers,
“Earth Day is the largest, most recognizable face of the environmental movement. Millions of people in dozens of different countries will become lifelong environmentalists this and every Earth Day. They will join the more than 1 billion people who already use Earth Day to focus on the urgent need to stabilize and reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, fight climate change, act locally, become climate voters, and protect their children’s futures.”
With close to 200 countries participating in Earth Day, just as many traditions have been created.
In Monaco they hold an annual Monaco Earth Day Swim. This is a 2.5km swim in the open waters of the Mediterranean. This swim occurs as a way to raise money for different causes that support the environment. Participants also receive an olive tree as a reward for completion.
In Spain a two-day celebration takes place in Barcelona, Spain. The (Fair for the Earth) is typically held during the weekend before Earth Day and features several eco-friendly products, seminars on how to keep your mind, body and spirit healthy, along with dancing and singing.
In Ethiopia, who actually just celebrated its’ first Earth Day in 2009, an Awareness Fair. This fair includes panel discussions on protecting the natural environment and how their health and well-being depends on it.
In Thailand more than 100,000 Buddhist monks from around 30,000 temples across Thailand gather at a temple north of Bangkok. While Earth Day for some means giving back directly to the Earth, these monks aim to help by focusing on peace. The goal for this mass meditation is to promote world peace through personal inner peace and is held at the World Dhammakaya Centre.
In the United States, Earth Day becomes Earth Week due to National Park Week coinciding every year. From April 18-26 almost 400 national parks across the country hold special events and celebrations. New York City is also known for hosting a weeklong festival at Grand Central Terminal called EarthFair.
The goal of the Earth Day Network for Earth Day 2016 is take the first of five major steps in counting down the five years until their 50th anniversary by planting trees. By 2020, the Earth Day Network hopes to plant 7.8 billion trees; that’s one for every person on the Earth! With such an amazing and unique planet to call home, don’t forget to show your appreciation and celebrate Earth!