Earth Day 2021: The catalyst of global environmental activism

The day that sparked climate change activism around the globe.

By Matt Maynard · 19th April 2021

Earth Day occurs every year on 22 April to demonstrate support and promote awareness for our planet’s environmental protection. 

Since its first appearance in 1970, Earth Day has remained a crucial annual landmark in the calendars of environmental activists around the globe, with the mission to “diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide.”

Earth Day 2021

This year, Earth Day will run from 20 to 22 April, beginning with the global youth climate summit led by Earth Uprising, alongside My Future My Voice, OneMillionOfUs and hundreds of youth climate activists, including Greta Thunberg. 

On the evening of 20 April, the Hip Hop Caucus will present the “We Shall Breathe” virtual summit which will raise awareness of the issues of the climate crisis, poverty, police brutality and the pandemic. 

April 21 will make way for Educational International to lead the “Teach for the Planet: Global Educational Summit.”

On 22 April, Earth Day itself, EARTHDAY.ORG will have its second live digital event, in line with the Biden Administration’s global climate summit, which will begin at 5pm BST  on their website(12pm Eastern Time). Topics such as up and coming green technologies, reforestation projects, equity and environmental justice and climate restoration technologies will be discussed among many others. 

The Origins of Earth Day

Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring helped raise public awareness about the state of the planet in 1962, selling more than half a million copies in 24 countries. The publication of Carson’s book woke the general public up to the devastation pollution was having, on both Earth and humans alike. 

Inspired by the Vietnam anti-war movements, a junior senator from Wisconsin named Gaylord Nelson suggested the idea for a lecture on college campuses to the national media. With the help of Republican Congressman Pete McCloskey and a young activist named Denis Hayes, they chose 22 April to hold the lecture - a weekday in between Spring Break and Final exams - to maximise student participation. 

The day in which the lecture was held was named Earth Day, which helped ignite interest across the USA, inspiring some 20 million Americans to demonstrate against the devastating effects 150 years of industrial revolution was having on the environment and human health. 

In 1990 environmental leaders helped Earth Day go global. 200 million people across 141 countries helped campaign and protest to raise awareness for the environmental issues that were becoming increasingly damaging to the Earth. Earth Day 1990 gave a tremendous boost in the recycling effort worldwide and even helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. 

Since, Earth Day has been the inspiration behind many collective, worldwide movements and projects, all with the goal of striving further toward environmental preservation and protection. 

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