By Tiyasa Basu Das,Cl XII, Humanities
“The fate of the living planet is the most important issue facing mankind.” Gaylord Nelson.
Earth Day is celebrated globally on 22 April to demonstrate support for environmental protection. It was founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson who is also known as the Father of Earth Day. Earth Day was first organized in 1970 to promote ecology and respect for life on the planet as well as to encourage awareness of the growing problems of air, water and soil pollution.
Gaylord Nelson, an American politician and environmentalist, had been long concerned about the environmental side effects caused by American industrial development. In the decades leading up to the first Earth Day (1970), Americans were consuming vast amounts of leaded gas through massive and inefficient automobiles. Industries belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of consequences. Air pollution came to be commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity. Further, in 1969, Nelson was horrified by the Santa Barbara oil spill. It was the worst oil spill in American history. Sea birds, seals, dolphins and sea lions died by the thousands. The oil kept flowing for a week and half. As a reaction to this disaster, activists were mobilized to create environmental regulation, environmental education and Earth Day. Senator Gaylord Nelson was inspired to create Earth Day upon seeing Santa Barbara Channel 800 square-mile oil slick from an airplane.
Over the decades, Earth Day has achieved a global significance and is celebrated across more than 192 nations worldwide. Earth Day engages more than 1 billion people every year and has become the major stepping stone towards the sustenance and protection of Mother Earth. Reusing, recycling, being aware, preventing pollution, using earth-friendly products and planting trees are some of the simplest yet impactful ways in which we can celebrate Earth Day – small changes can make a big difference. “Earth rejoices in our words, breath and peaceful steps. Let every breath, every word and every step make mother earth proud of us.”
Each of us has the power to make the world a better place. It’s up to you and me to do our part. Happy Earth Day!