It’s the 50th anniversary of Earth Day this year, what a milestone! We’ve certainly come a long way since fighting toxic waste at Love Canal, passing laws to protect air and water, and halting environmental destruction. What is the greatest challenge facing us now? Is it sustainability and climate change? Food access and food safety? Clean energy production? It’s clear that we still have lots of work to do to protect planet Earth!
The success of the past 50 years is due in part to laws and regulations but it’s also because of individuals taking on leadership roles and challenging the status quo. Ten years ago, I wrote this article to reflect on our environmental history, and it’s still relevant today. Our past can help drive future goals and actions, and today, we look towards the use of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the global blueprint to promote environmentally positive actions. The 17 goals are wide-ranging and this month’s focus is Good Health and Wellbeing, and nothing shines the spotlight on that goal more than the current Coronavirus crisis.
Despite the pandemic, organizations around the world are dedicated to promoting Earth Day as the need for action rises in response to global challenges. The Earth Day Network is focused on #climateaction (SDG goal 13) and digital events are located here. Your local Extension office is hosting a virtual youth summit for ages 10-14 on #climateaction, and registration is still open. Sign up for virtual earth week or attend a program in partnership with City of Dunedin on 4/21 or City of Largo on 4/25.
On the 50th anniversary, challenge yourself to become a bigger risk taker for the environment – use your car less often, contact your local officials more often, manage your eco-footprint, and volunteer in your community. Show your support by participating in virtual events, online challenges, and personal pledges. Check your local Extension website and social media platforms for online events and action lists that focus on Earth Day. Most of all, remember that it isn’t just a one-time event or activity that will protect Earth, we all need to develop an ethic of stewardship, #everydayisearthday.
Our actions together will make all the difference in the world! #VoteEarth