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How you Can Make a Difference this Earth Day

22 April 2021

Since 1990, Earth Day has been an annual, internationally recognised event to raise awareness about the state of our planet.

Now, 51 years later, there is still much global support for Earth Day with over 193 countries showing their support for the global environmental movement.

As time goes on the need for environmental change across the globe becomes more and more evident. But it is important to remember that great change is made up of every small action.

Let’s find out how you can make a difference this Earth Day.

The History of Earth Day

Senator Gaylor Nelson from Wisconsin became increasingly concerned about the deteriorating environment in the United States. It was in January 1969, when a massive oil spill occurred in California, that Nelson decided to inspire the youth anti-war movement about air and water pollution.

Nelson announced the teach-in idea to the national media and recruited Denis Hayes, a young activist, to organise the teach-ins on campus. After recognizing its full potential, Hayes built a national staff of 85 people to promote the events across the country and called the event ‘Earth Day'.

Earth Day inspired 20 million Americans – a considerable ten percent of the population at the time – to demonstrate against the impact of industrial development.

By the end of 1970, the first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and an array of new environmental protection laws.

It was in 1990 that Earth Day went global. Denis Hayes was approached to organise a planet-wide campaign that mobilised 200 million people in 141 countries bringing global environmental issues to the fore.

Thanks to the efforts of Earth Day in 1990, the road was paved for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

Earth Day Today

Today Earth Day is globally recognised as the largest secular observance in the world by more than a billion people annually as the day to change global behaviours for the betterment of our planet.

The fight for a clean environment continues as climate change, global warming and species endangerment, among other crucial issues, are at the fore of environmental concerns.

As awareness increases so do the actions of the global public. By making small changes in your life, we are able to stand together against global issues and help save our planet.

Let’s have a look at how you can make a difference this Earth Day:

1. Volunteer

The best way to become involved in any cause is to volunteer.

From helping out with beach cleanups to picking up litter in your neighbourhood or even planting some trees on an empty patch of land, there are plenty of ways that you can contribute to the betterment of the planet by volunteering.

If you would like to “Work for the Earth” then follow this Earth Day Volunteer link and signup to learn about the latest volunteer programmes in your area.

2. Cycle

Not only is cycling good for your health, but it is also good for the overall health of our planet. According to research conducted by Statistica.org, there are approximately 22.8 million bicycles in the Netherlands.

The Netherlands, however, is not the only pro-bicycle country in the world. In May 2019, Beijing opened the city’s first bicycle highway which is a 6.5km cycling-only road used by approximately 8,000 commuters daily.

Contribute to the bicycle movement and put away the car keys. When possible cycle to school or work. Or, if you need to go to the store, travel by bicycle. Not only will you improve your health, but you will lower emissions. Win-win.

3. Shop Reusable

One of the leading contributors to ocean pollution is plastic shopping bags. Recent studies conducted in South Africa revealed that 8 billion plastic bags are consumed annually. Most of these bags end up in landfills or in the ocean.

Instead of buying a new bag every time you head to the store, purchase a reusable shopping bag. They are sturdier, last longer and will save you money in the long run. Think about it: how much money do you think you have spent on purchasing plastic bags this year alone?

While we are on the topic of reusable: reuse plastic water bottles instead of buying new ones, where possible purchase glass instead of plastic, use paper or metal straws and always recycle when you are unable to reuse.

4. Unsubscribe

Sometimes the biggest changes that can be made lie in plain sight. Do you still get the morning paper delivered to you? What about your monthly favourite magazine subscription?

It’s just one newspaper, right? Wrong.

Hundreds of thousands of trees are cut down every year to publish your favourite newspaper or magazine.

This does not mean, however, that you need to stop reading your favourite news catchup altogether. Instead of subscribing to a physical copy of your favourite reading material, subscribe for a digital copy.

Not only will this save thousands of trees, but it will also allow you to access your reading content anywhere and save you the effort of tidying the precarious stacks of magazines on the coffee table.

5. Start a Vegetable Garden

The best way to learn how to appreciate nature is to become actively involved in it. Designate a part of your garden to starting a family vegetable patch. This way you can grow all your favourite veggies while contributing to the global plant population.

Instead of throwing out your vegetable and fruit peels, learn how to make your own compost. This will help reduce the amount of waste headed for the landfills and help your new vegetable garden to grow at the same time.

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How do you plan to contribute to Earth Day this year? Share your plans in the comments on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages to spur our followers on to help make our planet a better place.