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Forty-seven years ago, on April 22, 1970, twenty million Americans took to the streets to voice their concern about the deteriorating environment and urge the government to take action before was too late. The grassroots movement, which is now celebrated by over 2 billion people in 192 countries, led to the enactment of numerous environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act of 1970 and the Endangered Species Act of 1973.
Unfortunately, despite the regulations, our planet is in worse shape now than it was when Earth Day was first celebrated. Recent data from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) revealed that 2016 was the warmest year on record since modern recordkeeping began in 1880. Even worse, eight of the first nine months of the year, June excluded, also recorded the highest surface temperatures for those respective months. The good news is it’s still not too late to reverse climate change if we all do our part. This Earth Day, take the first step towards helping our planet by participating in one or more of these fun activities.
Adopt A Piece Of Our Planet
That’s right! NASA is putting the Earth up for adoption so you and your friends can claim a portion of the planet as your own. The space agency has divided the globe into 64,000 sections, each about 55-miles wide, or big enough to be seen from space. All you have to do is type your name into NASA’s “Adopt the Planet” site to claim a certificate that will give you the location of your slice of paradise complete with details of its environment, including the air quality as well as vegetation. NASA hopes that this exercise will stimulate interest and care in our planet and encourage people to show more respect.
Search giant Google is also trying to engage the public with an updated Google Earth focused around Earth Day events. Through a new Voyager feature, users will be able to discover stories from around the world, learn about new places by reading “Knowledge Cards,” and send postcards.
March For Science In Washington DC
If you happen to be anywhere near the nation’s capital on April 22, join the millions that are expected to participate in the Earth Day March for Science Rally and Teach-Ins at the National Mall. The mission of the event that will feature guests speakers, musical performances and educational booths is to mobilize citizens into taking action by promoting this year’s Earth Day theme: climate and environmental science literacy.
Express Your Love For Earth Through Art
The Slooh online observatory will stage an Earth Day special where both NASA astronauts and the public will share their thoughts on what makes our “pale blue dot” so unique. NASA astronauts Stan Love and Tracy Calwell Dyson will kick-off the live webcast by telling the world how being on the International Space Station changed their perspective about Earth and what they missed the most while in orbit. The observatory will also broadcast 10-second video clips from people across the world sharing what they would miss the most if they went to space. Although the deadline for submitting a video has passed, Slooh is still accepting Earth-themed statements, poems, or artwork to feature on their site.
Clean-Up And Restore Earth
Earth Day provides a great excuse for all of us to assist our local state parks with projects like habitat restoration, native garden conservation, fence building, trail maintenance, and beach cleanup. Be sure to sign up and volunteer.
Celebrate Earth Day Every Day!
While participating in one or all of the above-mentioned activities is a great idea, it is just the beginning. You can continue celebrating every day and help the folks at EarthDay.org reach their goal of 3 billion green acts. While this may sound daunting, all that is required are small lifestyle changes. Planting a tree or two, going meatless just one day a week, or switching your disposable plastic water bottle for a reusable one will go a long way to help reverse the damage we have caused.
Happy Earth Day!
Resources: Earthday.org, huffingtonpost.com, space.com,prnewswire.com.