Nearly 50 years have passed since the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970. And this year more than 190 countries will mark the annual Earth Day for raising awareness of environmental causes – for Earth Day’s importance will only continue to grow as the years pass. Express.co.uk brings you all the information on what Earth Day is and why it was created.
What is Earth Day?
US Senator Gaylord Nelson hatched the idea for Earth Day after seeing the ecological catastrophe caused by the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, which killed more than 3500 birds off the Californian coast.
The first-ever Earth Day was marked by 22 million Americans who marched to protest against the destruction of the environment.
This led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passing of a raft of environmental legislation.
In the years since, Earth Day has spread worldwide and is now celebrated in more than 190 countries.
What is the theme for Earth Day 2019?
The theme for Earth Day 2019 is Protect Our Species, which attempts to draw attention to the rapid extinction of species around the world.
This is directly linked to human activity causing climate change, deforestation and pollution.
The Earth Day Network, responsible for running Earth Day, says 40 percent of the world’s 11,000 bird species are in decline and 75 percent of the world’s coral reefs are under stress.
Earth Day is encouraging its supporters to take individual actions to slow the extinction rate.
Easily achievable ideas include going vegetarian or cutting the use of pesticides and herbicides.
What can I do on Earth Day?
The Earth Day Network has issued a list of suggestions people can take to tackle climate change and protect the environment to save species across the world.
They include switching sunscreen to protect coral, organising or joining a beach clean-up and tracking and reducing their plastic waste.
People are also encouraged to plant trees, switch to reusable bags or create a bee-friendly garden.
Further tips include using public transport to cut emissions, buying energy-efficient appliances and electronics and supporting sustainable fisheries.
How to celebrate Earth Day with NASA:
US space agency NASA has a new social media campaign to gear up its audience for Earth Day.
Social media users on Instagram, Twitter and the NASA Earth Facebook event page can post a close-up photo of their favourite natural features on our home planet.
This could include “ancient trees, blooming flowers, or stunning sunsets,” NASA officials said in a statement.
Be sure to use the hashtag #PictureEarth and explain where the photo was taken — and to upload your photo on April 22 to qualify.
NASA plans to showcase these photos in videos and composite images that the agency will share on social media after Earth Day.