Earth Day 2015: It’s our time to lead

Back in 1970 a small environmental movement called Earth Day was born, and today we mark the event’s 45th anniversary, celebrating what many consider to be the birth of the modern environmental movement.

Gaylord Nelson
US Senator Gaylord Nelson was the brains behind Earth Day back in 1970, following a devastating oil spill in Santa Barbara.

Earth Day, and now the Earth Day Network (EDN) works with over 50,000 partner organisations across 192 countries to broaden, diversify and mobilize the global environmental movement, in all its forms. Over a billion people now participate in Earth Day partnership, activism and education activities each year, making it the largest civic observance of its kind in the world.

Earth Day differs from other international events in that it allows freedom of interpretation at a local, community and personal level. Whereas Earth Hour encourages switching off your lights, and Ride2Work Day asks you to…well…ride to work, Earth Day encourages you to make a difference in any way possible. The EDN suggests that you could ‘…volunteer. Go to a festival. Install solar panels on your roof. Organize an event in your community. Change a habit. Help launch a community garden…’.

Get the kids involved…teach them healthy and environmentally conscious habits!

Additionally it’s a chance for large organisations to create awareness of their environmental work or campaigns; Google’s Search Engine Doodle for example, leads you to an Earth Day Quiz, encouraging you to research the animal which most closely represents your personality.

Unfortunately Earth Day hasn’t really seen much interest here in Australia. There are a few events here and there, however it seems that Australia’s priorities look more towards UN focused initiatives rather than those of our allies across the Pacific. Regionally, this makes sense, but it couldn’t hurt to piggyback on global movement to create stronger momentum on environmental issues here at home – after all, Earth Day’s 2015 slogan is ‘It’s our time to lead’. This could be an opportunity to connect further with developing nations across our Asia Pacific on environmental issues; India already engages with Earth Day in a big way, why not join them?

Will you mark the day and how will you do it? Or will you wait until World Environment Day in June to make a change? Why not do both?