Earth Day is a global event that creates awareness for environmental conservation. It also encourages people to take action to reduce the effects of climate change. More than six million Canadians join one billion people from over 170 different countries to participate in Earth Day events. We take a look at a brief history of Earth Day, highlight this year’s theme, as well as share a list of Earth Day 2022 events in and around Ontario.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF EARTH DAY
Earth Day will be celebrated by millions around the world on Friday, April 22, 2022. This year marks the 52nd anniversary of the very first Earth Day back in 1970. Many important environmental events have happened on Earth Day since then, including the more recent signing of the Paris Agreement. Earth Day continues to be a momentous and unifying day each year. As the brainchild of American Senator Gaylord Nelson, it was inspired by the protests of the 1960s. Earth Day began as a “national teach-in on the environment” and was also held on April 22. A young activist named Denis Hayes was selected as Earth Day’s national coordinator. He worked at Nelson’s Senate office to organize the project.
Changes as a result of Earth Day
As a by-product of the event, a number of important pieces of environmental legislation were passed during the 1970’s. Among them, the Clean Air Act and the Endangered Species Act. Another key development, the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency. Its role? To protect human health and safeguard the natural environment—air, water and land. Looking forward to the 1990’s, Denis Hayes once again organized another major campaign for the planet. This time, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries, lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. Earth Day 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide. Nearly 40 years on, Earth Day is widely recognized as the largest secular observance in the world. It is marked by more than a billion people every year! It is a day of action to change human behavior and create global, national and local policy changes.
INVESTING IN OUR PLANET
Today, the Earth Day Network (EDN) collaborates with more than 17,000 partners and organizations in 174 countries. The theme for Earth Day 2022 is “INVEST IN OUR PLANET,” focusing on the effects of climate change. It is also about highlighting what efforts can be made to mitigate it. Every one of us needs a healthy Earth to support our jobs, livelihoods, health, survival and happiness. A healthy planet is not an option—it is a necessity.
EARTH DAY CHANGING THE WAY WE SHOP
According to a 2020 U.S. survey, 48% of respondents said the pandemic has raised concern about the environment. Another 55% said they are now more likely to purchase environmentally-friendly products. The survey also shows a whopping 164% increase in those who are planning to buy more items in bulk. Understanding that our food supply chain isn’t infinite, consumers are looking at food waste and carbon impact when selecting products. This year, Earth Day 2022 calls on everyone to support eco-conscious brands and products.
Here is a list of Canadian companies doing their part to produce more environmentally-friendly products:
Sustainability is becoming increasingly important. More and more people are trying to reduce their impact on the planet. As a result, a growing number of ethical and sustainable fashion brands are arising. They are trying to meet the demand and help change the fashion industry. To learn more about these Canadian brands, there are some websites to peruse for sustainable fashion:
We also have information on some of the best Canadian organic food companies. In their own way, each sustainable food company is taking unique approaches. From cutting edge start-ups to well-known brands, learn more by clicking on one of the sites below:
HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT EARTH DAY
Check out other ways to protect the environment at home, on the rooftops or your own backyard using the concepts of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”:
- Take a weekend morning to scour the neighborhood for plastics, cans and bottles for a personal cleanup project that will help the entire community.
- Perform a household energy audit. Focus on electronic devices, like laptops, that are left on 24/7. This accounts for 5-10% of residential energy use per year! Turn these devices off when not in use and you can save an average of $100 on your electric bill annually.
- Haven’t take the plunge into solar energy just yet? Begin with solar-powered porch or entryway lights that you can easily install yourself.
- In the backyard, choose a good location (away from the growing area) for a compost pile. Start recycling coffee grounds, egg shells and scraps of food to decompose. You’ll ultimately enrich your garden for the upcoming growing season.
- Enlist the kids to help build a bird feeder for the backyard or patio by using a plastic bottle and filling it with bird feed.
NOTE: You can also make a nature-made feed bowl out of half an orange peel. Fill it with seed and place on an outdoor table or windowsill.
Canadians have inspiration to be more environmentally-conscience, and should take action to reduce their environmental footprint. The purpose of Earth Day is to teach simple strategies to conserve energy. All these actions make a big difference to create sustainable living on the earth for generations to come. We should all recycle, conserve energy and practice the importance of energy conservation this #EarthDay. For more information on Earth Day in Canada, visit earthday.ca.