If you didn’t know, April is Earth month with Earth Day falling on the 22nd of April every year. Earth Day was founded in 1970 by an American named Senator Gaylord Nelson. Let me repeat: 1970. Fifty-three years ago.
And this wasn’t even the first sign of climate change. The first sign of climate change was considered in 1896 when carbon dioxide levels were noticed by a Swedish scientist and how this might heat up the Earth. In 1938, these rising temperatures were connected to the cause of global warming by Guy Callendar, an English steam engineer.
When I was researching the history of Earth Day and how the movement was established, I came across a CBS news video. In it, the reporter says, “…we do have an idea how many plan participation. Student groups and 2000 colleges and 10,000 lower schools”. I only mention this to highlight that fifty years later it is still young people and students fretting about their future that causes them to act and protest. This is yet another organisation made particularly for students and youth to be a part of, just like School Strike for Climate and Fridays for Future. It is up to us, if not anyone else, to protest and demand change that would otherwise go unaddressed.
Biologist Professor Barry Commoner in the video states: “We live on the brink of nuclear annihilation. We are in a crisis of survival.”
If science was saying more than fifty years ago that we are in a crisis and dancing the line of survival, why is it only now the governments enact new laws and ban plastics? Why are we still emitting the very fossil fuels that are slowly killing the planet? Still manufacturing plastic and harmful chemicals? How loud do we have to be for the government to hear us?
Earth Day and Earth Month provide another opportunity to protest. Earth day is full of protests and clean-ups. People have also turned Earth Day into a week or a month of living more environmentally conscious and limiting their emissions as a way to fight the climate crisis.
In Newcastle there were events like a clean-up at Newcastle Cemetery. Globally, there were cleanups in countries like America, India and the UK. Of course, Australia too, with Sydney hosting many clean ups over the course of the week. Some ways you can celebrate Earth Day are joining a local clean-up, donating to environmental charities such as Rainforest Alliance or Environment Victoria, sharing protest posts to raise awareness, and learning more on eco-friendly living.
The theme for 2023 Earth Day was ‘invest in our planet’. Start investigating how you might live more sustainably. Start demanding our government to invest, as we are, in our planet. If you do anything this Earth Month, I encourage you to decide how to invest in our planet in the way that suits you.
As a fellow environmentalist, I will protest from my bedroom with my second-hand clothes and homemade natural deodorant.
Hi, I’m Sami Peters and I am the Environment and Global Change Reporter for Opus. I study a Bachelor of Arts with a major in English and Writing. I love reading, writing, dancing, and the beach. I have a lot of passions but to combine two of my favourites: the environment and writing… that’s the dream.