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Wiser Environment celebrates Earth Day’s 50th anniversary

Wiser Environment is celebrating Earth Day’s 50th anniversary on Wednesday the 22nd of April to recognise environmental achievements and how you can get involved to protect our planet.


The battle for a healthy and just world confronts us every day. Australian bushfires, Kenyan locust invasions, and now the COVID-19 pandemic underlines the human influence on nature and biodiversity. United Nations Environment Programme emphasises this issue:

“There is a worldwide increase in disease emergence and epidemics particularly from zoonoses – diseases that can be passed on between animals and humans” (UNEP Frontiers Report 2016)

On Wednesday the 22nd of April, the globe celebrates Earth Day’s 50th anniversary. Amid the current crisis, Earth Day reminds us to commemorate scientific progress and solve nature’s most pressing challenges.

History

Earth Day was set up in 1970 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Previously, the damage inflicted upon the planet was given nowhere near the priority required – from air pollution to oil spills – environmental degradation was viewed as a sign of economic progress.

Following the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1969), the tables turned in favour of nature. The book raised public awareness for the wellbeing of all living beings and the links between human health and environmental pollution. The first Earth Day was led by Senator Gaylord Nelson after the famous Santa Barbara oil spill in 1969. 20 million Americans were mobilised to peacefully protest for environmental reform.

Notable achievements

Earth Day has, since its inception, created environmental wins at both the local and global scale. Notable landmarks achieved to date include:

  • Creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (1970);
  • Designation of the Clean Air Act (updated in 1970);
  • Designation of the Clean Water Act (1972);
  • Designation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (1972), and;
  • Designation of the Safe Water Drinking Act (1974).

There is much more to be done. Earth Day’s 50th anniversary also marks the signing of the Paris Agreement for climate action. By the end of the year, global carbon emissions must decrease by 7.6% and every year thereafter, to keep heating below 1.5 °C. Earth Day is more important than ever.

How to get involved

Wiser encourages you to get involved in Earth Day 2020 for 24 hours of action for people and the planet. Due to COVID-19, the event will be held across digital platforms. Visit the Earth Day Network on April 22nd to sign up and view 24 hours of live-streamed discussions, calls to action, video tech-ins and more. Recycle, avoid pollution and help save the world.

Speak up, act, vote and educate yourselves, friends and family this Earth Day.