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Deforestation. Climate change. Extinction. Our planet faces many challenges as we prepare for Earth Day on Saturday, April 22. But there also is an opportunity to take action and give back to the earth at the same time. That’s what gives us hope for the future.
The history of Earth Day may serve as a reminder as to why the annual celebration is needed—and of what’s possible when people come together. According to EarthDay.org, the commemoration was in part inspired by Rachel Carson’s 1962 book, “Silent Spring,” which raised awareness of care for nature and the impacts of pollution. U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, a longtime environmentalist, helped to put together the first Earth Day celebration on April 22, 1970, with Congressman Pete McCloskey. The events brought together millions all across the United States to rally on behalf of the environment and raise awareness of the impacts of 150 years of industrial development.
Through the years, Earth Day has evolved to be a day of action around modern issues such as climate change. The Natural Resources Defense Council suggests several measures to take at home to become more energy efficient and use fewer fossil fuels. Those include weatherization to seal drafts and provide adequate insulation, using energy-efficient appliances, and reducing the use of water. LED bulbs make a difference, too, as they use one-sixth the energy of a regular incandescent bulb.
Parade.com suggests simple steps like picking up litter and planting a tree. Local environmental organizations schedule regular cleanups of parks, beaches, and forest preserves.
We’ve written before about the benefits of volunteering and giving back, including the enjoyment of one’s community and the connection with others. That goes for the environment, too. The Forest Preserves of Cook County offers ecological stewardship days and ways to stay involved in preserving habitat all year round.
A celebration of nature and the environment needn’t only take place each April. Rather, it can make a difference most any time. Being one with the earth has so many benefits—to the planet and to ourselves.