Earth Day 2023

Earth Day 2023

Every year on April 22, over one billion people in over 190 countries participate in the phenomenon of Earth Day. As awareness of climate change and environmental issues grows, more people are demanding change from their governments and large corporations. Young people are taking a special interest in the problems that will influence their future. Earth Day unites the many groups and issues concerned with the environment in an annual day of activism, with Earth Week being an extension of this momentum.

The first Earth Day was organized in 1970, in response to growing concern about pollution and the environment. Events like the Santa Barbara Oil Spill and media such as Rachel Carson’s influential book Silent Spring galvanized people to demand political action and demand for putting legislation in place to protect the environment.

Gaylord Nelson is the founder of Earth Day. A former U.S. Senator and governor of Wisconsin, Nelson was dissatisfied with the lack of motivation in Congress to act on environmental issues. He conceived of Earth Day as a way to demonstrate public passion to policymakers. Nelson was later awarded the presidential medal of freedom for his role in founding Earth Day. He chose April 22 as the date to ensure students could participate (the day falls in between spring break and final exams). On the first Earth Day, an estimated 20 million people (about the population of New York) participated in marches, teach-ins, and other events. The magnitude of the first Earth Day sparked a decade of environmental legislation known as the “Environmental decade.”

 The official theme of Earth Day 2023 was Invest in Our Planet. There are many actions one can take to participate in environmental stewardship. Focuses included expanding climate literacy, growing trees, supporting sustainable fashion, ending plastic pollution, attending cleanups, and voting Earth. To become climate literate, one should explore climate change, environmental justice, and the close relationship between humans and the climate. For example, the importance of trees and plants that capture carbon dioxide and filter the air for us to breathe. Knowing this, one could plant trees or support a tree-planting initiatives like Conservation International. Sustainable fashion is also a great way to expand climate literacy, just by choosing clothing that have low carbon footprints, buying secondhand, or seeking environmentally responsible brands.

Read: Eco-Friendly Clothing Options

Plastic pollution has far-reaching repercussions. It clogs waterways, oceans, and communities. Plastic breaks down into microplastics, which enter the food chain when animals consume or intake them. Microplastics work their way up food webs and have been found in human blood. Attending cleanups and learning how to reduce one’s plastic use are great ways to combat this issue. KMHS hosts many cleanups throughout the year to keep our campus beautiful. Look for announcements on the class Remind to join one and get community service hours. There are also county and park cleanups. Georgia hosts an annual river cleanup called Rivers Alive (link below). These are just a few of the possible ways to participate. Many more can be found online and around the community. Earth Day is a momentous day of change and activism in which each of us can do our part. Happy Earth Day!

Rivers Alive




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Environmental Science for the AP Course

Earth Day

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