Saturday, April 22, 2023 is Earth Day. Where did Earth Day Come from and what can we do to make a difference for our planet?
April 20, 2023
In spring 1970, Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin created Earth Day as a way to push the environmental issue on the national agenda. Months leading up to the well publicized environmental demonstration, Senator Nelson and his team lead grassroots activists, who coordinated the work of thousands of Earth Day volunteers. Twenty million Americans demonstrated in different U.S. cities to tackle the concerns of pollution and environmental abuse under the name of Earth Day.
In December 1970, Congress authorized the creation of a new federal agency to tackle environmental issues, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Earth Day was the catalyst that brought together various government programs, constituencies and agenda – from elementary school anti-litter campaigns and college campus “teach-ins” to mothers who sought cleaner air, protestors against pesticides and proponents of waste control.
Earth Day grew the environmental movement as classes of students, activists, corporate and government employees, civic and political leaders all supported efforts to plant trees and flowers, sweep public spaces, build parks, recycle, and protest air, land and water pollution.
Speaking at the first Earth Day in New York over 53 years ago, Mayor John V. Lindsay noted that the business of pollution is the twin of the business of poverty and despair. “As we face the challenges of these uncertain times, we look to environmental justice advocates, who have long argued that people and the planet are inextricably intertwined and the health of one rests on the health of the other,” said Lindsay.
Today, we understand more deeply than ever, the profound consequences of our failure to serve as caretakers of God’s creation. United Methodists are called to a ministry of reconciliation between God, humankind and creation. (UMC Social Principles ¶ 160)
Here are some ways to take action:
- Action Alert: Tell U.S. Congress to Advance Climate Policies That Reflect a Vision of Justice for God’s People and God’s Planet (GBCS).
- Six Books of Sacred Worth for Young Climate Activists (GBCS)
- Climate Justice – Faith and Facts Card (GBCS)
- Harmony With Nature – Interactive Dialogue on April 24, 2023 at 10AM Eastern Time (United Nations)
- A Billion Acts of Green (earthday.org)