What's Earth Day and Why is it important?

Every year on April 22nd, people worldwide come together to celebrate Earth Day, an occasion dedicated to raising awareness about environmental issues and promoting sustainable practices. But what exactly is Earth Day, and why does it hold such significance? In this article, we'll delve into the origins of this day and the ongoing movement it continues to inspire.


Origins of Earth Day

Earth Day will mark its 55th anniversary next year in 2025. The event traces its roots back to the ‘70s when the modern environmental movement was taking shape, influenced by the notable book ‘Silent Spring’ (1962) by Rachel Carson, the famous NASA photograph of ‘the Earth from the Moon’ (1968) - inspiring understandings like the ‘Gaia Theory’, and the wide news coverage of the Santa Barbara oil spill and the Cuyahoga River fire (1969).


Earthrise by NASA/Bill Anders inspired new perspectives of planet Earth as a closed ecosystem

Image above/banner: taken on December 24, 1968, during the Apollo 8 mission, Earthrise by NASA/Bill Anders (via Wikimedia) inspired new perspectives of our planet as a closed ecosystem.


Troubled by the environmental degradation caused by industrialisation, Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin envisioned a day dedicated to raising awareness about environmental issues. The first-ever Earth Day was marked on April 22nd, 1970, seeing an estimated 20 million Americans take to the streets in rallies, demonstrations, and teach-ins. It was one of the largest single-day protests to date, and the beginning of a global environmental movement.


Earth Day’s Mission

The primary objectives of Earth Day include highlighting pressing environmental concerns, such as climate change, deforestation, and pollution while promoting sustainable practices and conservation efforts. Earth Day empowers individuals and communities to be stewards of the planet by raising awareness, inspiring action, and fostering global cooperation. It serves as a platform for fostering civic engagement and activism, empowering individuals to advocate for environmental protection. Acting as a poignant reminder of our collective responsibility to protect and preserve the environment for current and future generations.


Earth Day 2013 march in San Francisco, USA (photo by Steve Rhodes via Flickr)

Image above: Earth Day 2013 march in San Francisco, USA (photo by Steve Rhodes via Flickr)


Global Observance and Participation

In 1990, Earth Day was taken internationally and has grown into a global phenomenon, with over 190 countries participating in various activities and events. From tree plantings and beach clean-ups to educational workshops and environmental campaigns, communities worldwide unite on Earth Day to demonstrate their commitment to preserving the planet.


Environmental Challenges Addressed

Earth Day focuses attention on a range of environmental challenges threatening the health of our planet. From the devastating impacts of climate change to the loss of biodiversity and pollution of air, water, and soil, these issues pose significant threats to ecosystems and human well-being. Earth Day aims to address these challenges and drive positive change by raising awareness and inspiring action.


beach clean-up (photo by OCG Saving The Ocean via Unsplash)

Image above: beach clean-up (photo by OCG Saving The Ocean via Unsplash)


Achievements and Progress

Over the years, Earth Day has catalysed numerous environmental initiatives and policy changes, leading to significant progress in environmental conservation and sustainability. From the passage of key legislation to the advancement of renewable energy technologies, Earth Day's legacy is evident in the strides made towards a more sustainable future. Also worth noting is that the Paris Agreement - an international treaty on climate change, was signed on Earth Day 2016 by the United States, China, the United Kingdom, and 120 other countries.


"Earth Day is the first holy day which transcends all national borders, yet preserves all geographical integrities, spans mountains and oceans and time belts, and yet brings people all over the world into one resonating accord, is devoted to the preservation of the harmony in nature and yet draws upon the triumphs of technology, the measurement of time, and instantaneous communication through space."

- Margaret Mead, cultural anthropologist


While Earth Day serves as an annual reminder of the importance of environmental stewardship, its message extends far beyond a single day. To truly make a difference, we must commit to ongoing environmental action, advocating for policies that protect our planet, embracing sustainable lifestyles, and holding corporations and governments accountable for their environmental impact. As we commemorate Earth Day each year, let us renew our commitment to environmental sustainability and work together to create a healthier, more resilient planet for all.


Earth Day 2024 Theme

The official theme for 2024 is "Planet vs. Plastics”. It demonstrates a commitment to end plastics for the sake of human and planetary health by demanding a 60% reduction in the production of all plastics by 2040. It recognises the pressing problem: global plastics have reached an estimated 460 million metric tons in recent years, affecting the health of living beings on our planet. It is estimated that 75 to 199 million tons of plastic are currently in our oceans, while packaging production constituted the highest-demanded use for plastic, with 146 million metric tons used in 2017 alone. Beyond addressing the issue by raising public awareness about plastic's harmful impacts and investing in innovative technologies to create a plastic-free world, the organisation focuses on the United Nations Treaty on Plastic Pollution - aimed at eliminating all single-use plastics by 2030.

Another big focus for this year’s theme is pushing for policies to curb plastic use in fast fashion production. As advocates for Slow Fashion, we’re proud to have actively promoted the Plastic-Free Revolution for several years here at Psylo. This means that when you place your order on this site, we use sustainable packaging to ship your order.




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