Earth Day – April 2017


On 22 April every year, events take place all over the world to celebrate Earth Day, an initiative to demonstrate and foster support for the protection of the environment.

So, we have chosen 'Our Planet' as this month's theme, to help raise awareness of Earth Day, and as an excuse to think big about global environmental issues. 

The global environment

"Think globally, act locally." That phrase is used in all sorts of contexts, but it is perhaps most pertinent when considering the environment.

Thinking globally ... Our planet is vast, but the 7.5 billion people on it, with their energy-hungry, land-hungry, polluting technologies have had and continue to have a profound effect on its air, its land and its water – and on its wildlife, on which we all depend. It seems like a problem too vast for anyone to deal with – certainly not an individual, like you. But you can make a difference 

Acting locally ... as Gandhi once said: "You must be the change you want to see in the world." While international treaties and intergovernmental initiatives can make a real difference (see the link to the Montreal Protocol in the links section, below), powerful, positive change is possible through the collective actions of many individuals. Reducing your own use of energy and materials, re-using things rather than throwing them out, recycling stuff you no longer need – and, of course, encouraging others to take these actions – are crucial starting points. 


What is Earth Day?

The theme of Earth Day 2017 is 'environmental and climate literacy'. There are thousands of events all over the world that aim to inform people about the challenges facing the global environment. The events and campaigns are coordinated by The Earth Day Network, which describes itself as the world's biggest recruiter for the environmental movement. The following potted history is taken from their website: 

"The first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, activated 20 million Americans from all walks of life and is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement. The passage of the landmark Clean Air ActClean Water ActEndangered Species Act and many other groundbreaking environmental laws soon followed. Twenty years later, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world." 

The site contains a more comprehensive history of the Earth Day, which you can read by following this link.  

Useful links ...

A few links if you want to find out more ... 

• You'll find some inspiring and informative films in the category 'global outlook' on our very own FILMS website. Follow this link and enjoy. 
• The United Nations' Environment Programme is a great resource for finding out the state of the global environment and current environmental issues. 
• About the Montreal Protocol – a story that proves positive change is possible. 
• Some great photos and memories of the first Earth Day in 1970, from someone who was there. 
• An interesting blog post about Earth Day. 
• 2017 is the UN Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development
• Find out about the circular economy, from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation

• Check out Wikipedia's list of global environmental issues ... it's not all plastic microbeads and climate change (though these are important).