Earth Day 2022: Invest in Our Planet

Posted by on Apr 22, 2022 in Top Stories

April 22, 2022, is the forty-second worldwide observance of Earth Day. This year’s theme is Invest in Our Planet, which encourages business, government, and individuals to work together to combat climate change. Do you know how Earth Day started? Do you know how you can participate in this year’s observance? Here, btw takes a closer look at the annual event that has now become one of the largest in the world. 

How It Started 

The first Earth Day observance occurred in 1970. In January 1969, there was a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson was inspired by the student anti-war protests that were going on at the time. So, he organized a national teach-in day on college campuses to inform students about environmental issues. He chose April 22 because it fell between Spring Break and final exam week. He hoped this timing would encourage more students to participate. He was joined in the organization effort by Representative Pete McCloskey. The event quickly expanded beyond college campuses. Over twenty million Americans participated that first year. Celebrations and rallies were held in neighborhoods, churches, schools, and town halls across the country. 

The success of the first Earth Day helped build momentum for the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). President Nixon and Congress also passed the Clean Air Act by the end of the year. Two years later, Congress passed the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act the year after that. In 1990, Earth Day went global, with a focus on recycling. More than two hundred million people in 141 countries got involved. Today, over 190 countries honor Earth Day, with more than one billion individuals participating. 

What Are the Goals of Earth Day? 

While each year’s celebration has its own theme, the core goals of Earth Day remain the same. One of the primary goals of Earth Day is supporting and promoting comprehensive environmental education in schools. Earth Day also aims to improve awareness of the global climate crisis. It also encourages policy changes at all governmental levels to fight climate change.  

How Can I Participate? 

There are many ways to get involved in Earth Day, whether individuals attend an organized Earth Day event. People can plant a tree or donate to an environmental nonprofit organization. People can go for a walk and pick up trash around the community neighborhood. People can also investigate to see if there are composting efforts in their community.  

Dig Deeper After reading the article above, visit the Earth Day website to test your own environmental literacy. How did you do? Were you surprised by the results?