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Earth Day 2020

Updated: Dec 13, 2020

By Bev Jones

Earth Day celebrates its 50th anniversary today. April 22nd, 1970 is the birthday for the environmental movement that created lasting, environmental change around the globe. The inception of Earth Day is credited to Gaylord Nelson, a US Senator from Wisconsin. Nelson was greatly affected by the massive and destructive signs of a 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, and he believed that the time for action had arrived.

The ground work for a movement had already been set in place by Rachel Carson and the publication of her book Silent Spring in 1962. Through her writing, Carson had enlightened and inspired millions of environmental advocates around the world to make a difference.

Nelson came up with the idea of a National Day to focus on environmental concerns and 20 million people from across the country joined Nelson in agreement. People from both political parties and all walks of life unified in the effort to tell our government to make our planet a healthy place to live. The result was the creation of landmark environmental laws in the United States. The Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts were created and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was formed. These efforts were recognized and appreciated by other nations as well and soon environmental laws were being created worldwide.

Each year, the Earth Day Network chooses a theme to reflect the objectives of the Earth Day celebration for that day and the coming year.

Themes from the recent past include:

2019- “Protect Our Species”

2018- “End Plastic Pollution”

2017- “Environmental and Climate Literacy”

2016- “Trees for the Earth”

2015- “It’s Our Turn to Lead”

The Theme for 2020 is “Climate Action”. The 50th anniversary gives humanity a golden opportunity to address the biggest environmental challenges of our planet’s history.

For 50 years, families and friends have been getting together to celebrate Earth Day by taking the time to appreciate mother earth. Projects to make a difference have occurred on huge public scales involving hundreds of participants and also on small scales with handfuls of folks or individuals. No matter the group size, the impact is monumental.

With COVID-19 concerns weighing heavily on our planet this year, adjustments are having to be made to Earth Day plans. Cherished activities or traditions may not occur in the exact same way, but actions can and should still be taken. I am confident that safe, creative ideas are working through your minds as you already have a concern for and a connection to nature simply based on receiving this e-mail from WildCare of Western New York. Feel free to share those ideas and any photos to celebrate Earth Day through our Facebook page. We hope that you enjoy Earth Day and the beauty that nature brings to you today and every day.

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