Every year on April 22nd, the United States, along with more than 190 other countries, celebrates Earth Day. Most of have heard of this day, but do we really know what it means? Earth Day’s origins go back to an UNESCO conference in San Francisco where it was suggested that we should honor the earth and the concept of peace in tandem with the first day of Spring. The first Earth Day was held on March 21st, 1970. Just one month later, on April 22nd, United States Senator Gaylord Nelson, of Wisconsin, founded the first government-recognized Earth Day, that was intended to focus on environmental education in schools. It stuck.
When I think of Earth Day, Climate Change and Global Warming usually come to mind. These are two complex and nuanced concepts that can be overwhelming. I constantly find myself questioning my actions, in an effort to minimize my personal impact. Do you find yourself doing that too? I have some good news, though. If you, like me, follow your heart by living a plant-based diet, free from animal products, then you have already a huge step towards fighting climate change! As it turns out, livestock (animals raised for food) are some of the largest contributors of greenhouse gases, like methane. Good work!
If you, like me, are still striving to do more, but don’t know where to start, find an Earth Day rally or event to attend. In similar style to the Women’s March on Washington, the Earth Day Network will be holding a March for Science. Or, if you happen to live in LA, come check out my zero waste booth at the Glassell Park Neighborhood Association’s Earth Day event (details coming soon).
Attending events can be a great source of motivation, but true change comes when you take action. Start small by walking short distances that you would normally drive. Cook more meals at home, which helps you stay more connected to where your food comes from and what is actually in it. Small steps, have big impacts, but they must be continual and consistent. And always remember, Earth Day is every day.
– Jonathan Levy, AKA Zero Waste Guy