Friday, April 22, was a day in which all of humanity—young and old, man and woman—gathered together in celebration of our one common mother: Mother Earth. Earth Day has been a holiday for the past 46 years, beginning on April 22, 1970, and is now celebrated by more than 193 countries worldwide.
Back in 1970, two thousand colleges and universities, roughly ten thousand primary and secondary schools, and hundreds of communities across the United States all celebrated the cause. Being coordinated by the nonprofit Earth Day Network, and chaired by the first Earth Day 1970 organizer Denis Hayes, according to whom Earth Day is now “the largest secular holiday in the world, celebrated by more than a billion people every year,” Earth Day continues to provide an opportunity for environmental groups to encourage a change in human behavior and provoke policy changes all pertaining to environmental changes.
2016’s Earth Day was no average Earth Day, however. This year, the landmark Paris Agreement was signed by the United States, China, and some other 120 countries. The signing of this agreement satisfied entry into force of the historic draft climate protection adopted by consensus of the 195 nations present at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. Over the next five years, as Earth Day moves closer to its 50th anniversary, the Earth Day committee has also set what they claim to be as one of their most ambitious goals to date: planting 7.8 billion trees worldwide, in order to absorb excess and harmful CO2, odor, pollutant gases (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide, and ozone), filter particulates out of the air, help communities achieve long-term economic and environmental sustainability, and provide food, energy and income.
Besides this year’s focus on these relatively new causes, Earth Day 2016 continued the already existing causes of, “greening our schools and college campuses, voting green on a series of political environmental topics, donating money to protect endangered species, and partaking in a global day of conservation.”
“It’s April 27th, and it was 37 degrees this morning,” complained Prep senior Tanner Ziacik, “I’m starting to re-evaluate my support of Mother Nature.” Some of us wish it were warmer; others wouldn’t mind winter year round. Regardless, this is our common mother, and she ought to be appreciated as such. And, there might be no better quote to illustrate Mother Nature’s importance than the one stated in the Cree Indian Proverb: “Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize we cannot eat money.”