Written by James Moy, Grant Writing and Development

Basic History of today’s Earth Day

So why do we even celebrate April 22nd of every year? The first Earth Day took place in 1970 and marks what is often considered to be the birth of the modern environmental movement. In 1969 Senator Gaylord Nelson had witnessed the successes of the antiwar protests across schools and college campuses throughout the nation and envisioned ways that similar progress could be made to bring awareness to the environmental movement. Partnering with Denis Hayes, a graduate student at Harvard University, Senator Nelson proposed a plan to raise awareness and educate the public about the value of conservation. April 22nd was chosen as an ideal date landing between Spring Break and Final Exams to maximize student participation. The movement soon grew to encompass campuses and students from across the nation and the name “Earth Day” was chosen to mark this historic precedent. 

The Theme of Earth Day 2022 is “Invest in our planet” and calls for collaborative action for all of us to act boldly, innovate broadly, and implement equitably. Today, Earth Day brings together businesses, organizations, government institutions, schools, and like-minded individuals concerned for the planet’s healthy future in a collective effort to preserve a healthy, sustainable future.

Excerpt – Inspiring Examples of Youth making a difference

On this Earth Day, April 22, 2022, I’d like to recognize an individual that embodies an exceptional love for the planet.

(image source: EarthGuardians.org)

At just 16, Xiuhtezcatl (Pronunciation: Shoe-Tez-Caht) Martinez had a greater impact on the environmental activism movement than most full-age adults. As early as the age of six, he began speaking out about the strong connection between humans and the environment and its significance for the future of a healthy planet’s. 

Martinez was raised in Aztec tradition and learned at an early age, to foster a spiritual and emotional connection to his natural surroundings. Martinez cited his indigenous roots as one of his driving sense of responsibility to form connections with his surroundings. 


In High School, he took on the weight of an entire environmental protection movement as he stepped into a leadership role as the youth director of Earth Guardians, an organization of young people working to address climate change. In addition, he expresses his passion for making hip-hop music as an outlet for spreading awareness around environmental issues. At such a young age, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez stands out as a role model and a beacon of hope representing a new generation of environmental leaders.

Highlight achievements from the past year

On Earth Day every year, we celebrate some of the accomplishments and events from the environmental movement throughout the past year. After this year’s COP26, seven countries pledged to halt all exploration of oil and natural gas reserves, reducing environmental impacts from extraction and transportation processes and 110 leaders signed a deforestation pledge vowing to eliminate deforestation by 2030. A startup named UPSIDE, founded a facility in California capable of producing 50,000 pounds of meat without having to use livestock that produces significant amounts of greenhouse gasses. The nation’s largest national forest, the Tongass National Forest, received renewed protections across a span of 16 million acres in SouthEastern Alaska. The One Tree Planted Organization reported metrics of forests as large as the Country of France being successfully replanted over the past 20 years. Finally, a Dutch inventor successfully launched his organization, Ocean Cleanup aimed at removing garbage from the oceans and successfully collected and recycled 20,000 pounds of waste.

How EGC is Celebrating

This past year Each Green Corner has dedicated programs to providing increased access to food production capabilities for under-resourced communities. This Earth Day, program coordinators of our project, family Connections, are handing out soil and seedlings to families in the North Fair Oaks community while also educating them about how they could eventually be able to grow their own garden in their backyard. The program provides everything from pots to soil to seeds. Our program educators are planning to walk community members through the planting process and instruct them on effective gardening techniques. More information can be found on our flier.

Look to future Earth Days and environmental holidays.

While April 22nd marks an international holiday for celebration and activism we should remember that our planet’s healthy future should remain our highest priority. Our appreciation of our planet should not be taken for granted. Rather, as we continue to strive for a prosperous future we can pass on our love of the planet to succeeding generations. It is our responsibility to foster a sense of admiration in our children so that they can be prepared to rise to the challenge of preserving the intrinsic natural beauty of our planet. Going beyond Earth Day as a holiday we can fully embrace our devotion to the movement, using every day as an opportunity to celebrate our past achievements and look to opportunities in the future. 

We should remember that we have the power to foster a love and appreciation that goes beyond this day and that above all else: every day is Earth day.

Citations:

“Earth Day 2022: Invest in Our Planet™.” Earth Day, 9 Mar. 2022, https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-2022/. 

Loftus-Farren, —Zoe. “Xiuhtezcatl Martinez.” Earth Island Journal, https://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/magazine/entry/xiuhtezcatl_martinez. 

“Earth Guardians.” Earth Guardians, https://www.earthguardians.org/. 

“8 Positive Environmental Stories from 2021.” Inhabitat, 29 Dec. 2021, https://inhabitat.com/8-positive-environmental-stories-from-2021/. 


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