Earth Day Around the Earth
Written by Megan Baranuk
Let’s examine Earth Day’s history, and its celebrations in different cultures and countries across the globe.
Earth Day is once again upon us, and we’ll be celebrating accordingly. Though we may be in a pandemic, different cultures around the world have been celebrating this holiday in unique ways for decades. In this article, we’re going to explore some of the celebrations that occur around the world.
Traditionally, Earth Day has a yearly theme in respect to our planet. This year, the theme is “Restoring our Earth.” This is an especially relevant focus in the midst of the pandemic, which encourages Earth’s inhabitants to begin restoring the planet. Sustainability, gardening and respecting the planet is imperative in achieving this goal. Think of it as a new year’s resolution, but for Mother Earth! Planting even just a tree in your backyard, planting wildflowers and supporting the Earth’s natural beauty and wonder can help contribute to this goal. Supporting bees can have a huge effect on the environment as well.
In America, the first official Earth Day celebration took place in 1970 (making 2020 Earth Day’s 50th anniversary), and surpassed all expectations. Twenty-million Americans took part in this holiday, which today is one of the largest secular holidays garnering about 500-million people across the planet who celebrate.
However, Earth Day did not begin as the holiday we know it to be today, as the first Earth Day was a national protest against dirty water conditions, polluted air and a rapidly declining environment. Leading up to the first Earth Day, many red flags arose that citizens and politicians were becoming aware of and concerned about. In 1969, the Cuyahoga River caught on fire, a major sign that reform around respecting the Earth needed to happen as soon as possible.
Earth Day has notably been able to connect people regardless of their political background, belief, race or gender. As a direct result of Earth Day, the United States Environmental Protection Agency was formed, as were the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.
The Clean Air Act addresses air pollution and carbon emissions, cutting down on the polluted air and increasing a better quality of air for all. The Clean Water Act sought to clean up bodies of water, as in the 1960s and 1970s most bodies of water were very polluted and filled with trash. The Endangered Species Act is one of the very few acts that places value on life that is not human, a central pillar in honoring Earth Day. This act prevents further harm or death as much as possible, and protects animals facing possible extinction.
This year, Earth Day is calling for organizations to join their three-day climate action summit. These summits will take place throughout Earth Week, focus on climate literacy and environmental justice, and offer a variety of youth-led climate issues. EARTHDAY.ORG will be hosting its second Earth Day Live on Earth Day this year, connecting a large network of relevant partners.
New York City is offering a five-kilometer eco-friendly walking tour, with the botanical gardens hosting performances, parades and tours that highlight protecting our Earth and species that are endangered.
London’s Neoclassical Somerset House has a plethora of events. The House is offering a two-week event that includes interactive programs and large-scale art installations. The event will also offer educational programs that will teach families how to be more eco-friendly and conscious.
Sydney, Australia, will be celebrating Earth Day by bringing in educational speakers to educate audiences on clean energy, and further discuss how technology and big companies affect the planet. In Brisbane, Australia, an event taking place on April 17 will plant 500 trees, thanks to Springfield Lakes Nature Center. These trees aim to help revive a wildlife corridor and help restore threatened species who reside in the area.
Tokyo often hosts an event at Yoyogi Park that garners over 100,000 people to learn how to live more sustainably and ethically. The highlight of the celebration is often the Tokyo Vegetarian Festival, exposing the masses to delicious and eco-friendly foods.
In Taiwan, an Exchange Photo Club will be calling attention to the action that is needed to save our planet from crisis. This club will be showing a virtual exhibition that highlights nature’s beauty and inherent vulnerability. This event will also educate viewers on what they can do to reduce their carbon footprint.
Throughout March and April in India, a central focus on reusing, refusing, and recycling is being stressed. Citizens are encouraged to swap, barter, exchange and buy second-hand. Buying new items is discouraged, as the trash often ends up in landfills.
In Vancouver’s “Party for the Planet” will commence on April 18. This party will host live music and performances. The event is outdoors, and the performances will include poets, speakers, and musical guests.
An event in Nigeria will bring artists together to celebrate Earth Day. This event aims to create awareness surrounding climate change and sustainability, and participants take part in tree-planting, webinars, social media activities and parachute decorations.
These are just a few notable events going on throughout the world. For more events anywhere in the world, visit earthday.org and browse their interactive map, filled with activities and events that highlight Earth Day this year!