I’ve been busy planning a local community swap/reuse/recycling event for the past few months. This year, the event falls on Earth Day (April 22nd) which couldn’t be a better fit as Earth Day was designed to promote environmental awareness and to foster responsible environmental stewardship.
Each year, people gather on Earth Day to engage in events that focus on the planet and our relationship with it. We celebrate Mother Nature in all her glory and reflect on things we might be able to do differently to protect our resources. Earth Day is an opportunity for individuals, communities, businesses, and governments to join together and take action towards a more sustainable future. Did you know that Earth Day is now observed in 175 countries and is the largest secular modern day holiday in the world?
The first Earth Day was formed by Sen. Gaylord Nelson out of concern that environmental issues were not being addressed in the political arena. In the spring of 1970, Nelson organized a nationwide grassroots demonstration to further promote conservation involvement and awareness. Support was so large that in 1970, the first official Earth Day was born. These efforts led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species acts.
Here are some interesting facts on what makes Earth Day so important:
- The garbage in a landfill stays for approximately 30 years.
- Each person throws away approximately 4.6 pounds of garbage every day.
- 84% of all household waste can be recycled.
- 14 billion pounds of trash is dumped into the ocean every year.
- Most families throw away about 88 pounds of plastic every year.
- One bus carries as many people as 40 cars!
- Every ton of paper that is recycled saves 17 trees.
- Recycled paper requires 64% less energy than making paper from virgin wood pulp.
- The amount of wood and paper we throw away is enough to heat 50 million homes for 20 years.
- It takes 90% less energy to recycle aluminum cans than to make new ones.
- The energy we save when we recycle one glass bottle is enough to light a traditional light bulb for four hours.
- We each use about 12,000 gallons of water every year.
So, what can you do? Participate in Earth Day this year. Check out Earth Day Network, Envirolink or your local newspaper for a list of events near you. Can’t find an event? Organize an event on your own or just plan time to spend with nature such as taking a hike or planting a garden. Set goals for yourself to recycle more, stop using bottled water and plastic bags, start a compost pile or ride your bike to work.
Do your part to be a good steward of the earth!
What are you doing to celebrate Earth Day this year?