Published on: Apr. 30, 2015
The first Earth Day was in 1970. On every April 22 since then, people around the world celebrate their commitment to building an eco-friendly environment and sustainable future. Over one billion people in 190 countries joined in the celebrations this year.
- Kuwait. The Chemical Engineering Society of Kuwait hosted a beach clean-up event, focusing on the importance of proper recycling. Students participated in a contest that required making art projects out of waste.
- Rwanda. The Rwanda Environmental Conservation Organization held a national conference that invited stakeholders to express their views on the country’s sustainability efforts and be a part of the urban development discussion to make Rwandan cities greener.
- Albania. Citizens gathered at the Aarhus Information Center in Vlore, Albania to sign a green petition to increase the green spaces in town.
- India. Community organizations held a book fair to raise awareness about waste issues in the country. Citizens were encouraged to bring used books to be recycled and learn about the important of waste management.
- Italy. In a speech at St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis encouraged global citizens to “reflect on the spiritual and moral imperative of all people to care for the Earth and all its creatures.”
- United States. A free concert took place on the National Mall featuring artists such as Usher, No Doubt and Mary J. Blige that inspired citizens to “take action to protect our planet and its people.”
Our calendars bestow Earth Day to April 22 but, as the Earth Day Network says, Earth Day is Every Day. The fight for a better future cannot be fought only every 364 days. Building a cleaner, more sustainable environment necessitates a long-term, year-round commitment. Thankfully, here in the U.S., we are well underway.
- San Francisco was the first U.S. city to ban plastic grocery bags, as part of its effort to divert 75 percent of landfill waste by 2010.
- Chicago created a permanent greenbelt around the metropolitan area. More than 2.5 million square feet of city roofs now support plant life (thanks to the Chicago Green Roof Program) and nearly half a million trees have been planted throughout the city.
- Seattle developed an incentive program that encourages residents to install solar panels on their homes for energy conservation.
- In Cambridge, Massachusetts, all new constructions or major renovations must meet Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) standards. The city’s Compost That Stuff program collects and processes organic waste from residences, restaurants, bars and hotels.
- Eugene, Oregon developed the Emerald Express, a hybrid public transit system.
- Part of Boston’s “Green by 2015” goal is to replace traditional taxi cabs with hybrid vehicles, recycle trash to power homes, install more solar panels and use more electric motorbikes for transportation.
“What can I do to protect our environment,” you ask? Recycle. Plant a tree. Adopt habits that reduce your home’s energy consumption, like turning off the lights when leaving a room and unplugging appliances when not in use. Organize a community clean up. The possibilities are endless.