THE THEME OF EARTH DAY FOR 2020 IS CLIMATE ACTION
Earth Day falls on April 22. And this year marks 50 years since the first celebration in 1970. If Earth Day was a marriage this would be the golden anniversary.
The Earth Day Network, which coordinates Earth Day activities throughout the year, says it plans to bring the green holiday “back to its roots” in 2020, “building an intergenerational movement that demands change.”
There is urgency and the stakes are very high. Currently we are in an environmental emergency and potential climate breakdown.
THE HISTORY OF EARTH DAY
On January 28, 1969, a well drilled by Union Oil Platform A off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, blew out. More than three million gallons of oil spewed, killing over 10,000 seabirds, dolphins, seals, and sea lions. As a reaction to this disaster, activists were mobilized to create environmental regulation, environmental education, and Earth Day. Among the proponents of Earth Day were the people in the front lines of fighting this disaster, Selma Rubin, Marc McGinnes, and Bud Bottoms, founder of “Get Oil Out.” Denis Hayes, organizer of Earth Day observance day, said that Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin was inspired to create Earth Day upon seeing the Santa Barbara 800 square-mile oil slick from an airplane.
That disaster – forever a part of local history in Santa Barbara County – affected the coastline from Pismo Beach to Oxnard and beyond, Santa Barbara County was left to deal with the aftereffects for years.
Earth Day on CBS News in 1970
On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans — 10% of the total population of the United States, at the time — took to the streets, parks and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment.
Groups that had been fighting individually against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness and the extinction of wildlife united on Earth Day around these shared common values. Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, urban dwellers and farmers, business and labor leaders. By the end of 1970, the first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts.
ISSUES THAT WILL AFFECT OUR ENVIRONMENTAL FUTURE
Our bodies are affected by pollution whether it’s in the air you breathe or the water you drink. Pollution is one of the biggest killers on the planet, and it takes more than 100 million lives every single year — and that’s just human lives.
Given the size and tremendous heat capacity of the global oceans, it takes a massive amount of heat energy to raise Earth’s average yearly surface temperature even a small amount. The 2-degree increase in global average surface temperature that has occurred since the pre-industrial era (1880-1900) which seems small, but is a significant increase in accumulated heat.