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How Should We Celebrate Earth Day this Year?

Celebrating how good we have it on this planet.

Imagine a place where food grows on trees, where animals populate the land, the sea, and the air, occupying every possible and imaginable niche of life to form one large, breathing organism with its own life almost. Can you picture it? There is only one planet like this one. Our own. Planet Earth.

Yet we’ve taken license over our planet and walled it off into thousands of different borders. We’ve consumed its resources and remodeled its natural curves into straight lines and sharp edges. This is the legacy that we need to reckon with on Earth Day, April 22nd, and every day afterward.

What is Earth Day? Why is Earth Day?

Over 1 billion people will embrace the 48th anniversary of Earth Day this year, making it the largest secular holiday on the planet. The idea for the celebration first came to Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1969 after he witnessed the atrocities of the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill first hand. He vowed to bring the fight for our environment onto center stage and suggested a proposal for a “national teach-in on the environment” to U.S. media outlets.

From there, momentum picked up rapidly. Gaylord convinced Pete McCloskey, an environmentally conscious Republican Congressman, and Dennis Hayes, a savvy Harvard professor, to get the project onto its feet. Together, they built a staff of 85 individuals to help promote the event nationwide, and on April 22, 1970, their efforts came to fruition. More than 20 million Americans from all corners of the country flooded the streets. The first Earth Day had begun.

Rally for the first Earth Day in Michigan
The first ever Earth Day Rally, 1970 (Credit: University of Michigan School for Environment and Natural Resources)

Earth Day has become an opportunity for colourful celebration and environmental advocacy. But it must also be a time to reflect on how we humans should relate to the world around us. This begins by changing the narrative of human ownership over the environment.

Are you part of the planet or is the planet part of you?

Look in the mirror. Run your hands through your hair. It is your hair and no one else’s, right? Pull at your bangs. Watch a strand of hair fall to the ground. It is no longer attached to your body. But is it still yours? The hair breaks down to dust. The dust blows out of your window and becomes dirt. Are you the dirt? Surely a part of you was (is?). Now we’re getting philosophical. But we do science, not magic.

Within 10 years nearly all of your body’s 10 trillion cells will die and be replaced. You are still you, but in a way, you are not. You are a product of cells that constantly regenerate — a product of cells that originated from the same earth that you walk upon, and that you were born from, and that you will be buried under.

The atoms which comprise the earth and the human body can both be traced to our universe’s origin, when light elements became heavy and ultimately expanded outward into the cosmos. Yes, we are really all made of stars.

Take a minute, just one, and go outside on April 22nd to look at the stars scattered across the clear Spring night sky. Do not observe them as distant or untouchable. They reflect a different truth. Neil Degrasse Tyson writes:

“When I look up at the night sky, and I know that, yes, we are part of this Universe, we are in this Universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts is that the Universe is in us. When I reflect on that fact, I look up — many people feel small, ‘cause they’re small and the Universe is big, but I feel big, because my atoms came from those stars.”

The universe is in us, and we are in the universe. This is an awesome realisation and a powerful covenant. The time has come to stop looking for what will give us power as an individual, and instead consider the ancient bonds that connect us to our world. We are not masters of the earth, we are not equal to the earth, we are the earth.

Only when we have accepted the essential connection that exists between each one of us, the swell of the oceans, the land in all of its forms, and the animals that inhabit both, will we be able to truly love to appreciate the planet we live in. Loving is also acting. You should not feel helpless but empowered to live in a moment when you can make a change that will influence all the future generations’ destinies. So, no, the situation may not be the best, but we have a unique opportunity to join forces and create the world we want to live in.

It starts with lending a hand, sharing this message or your own to protect the planet or participating in community clean-ups, or just making a donation to what you feel should truly be the priority 1 through 5 of every government in its right mind.


There is no Planet B

A few years onward at the UK Earth Day Rally, No Plan B for our planet (Credit: Garry Knight)

As the first fully-fledged fundraising platform against climate change, Plan A challenges you to raise your voices and make a difference this Sunday, April 22nd, and all the days after this one. Make a little bet with yourself, try to introduce something good for the planet. Every week a new one. There’s no day like today to start changing the world.

Happy Earth Day star people!

Questions: Why should we care about Earth Day? Why should we care about the Earth EVERY day? What is Earth Day

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