“The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.”
― Gaylord Nelson, principal founder of Earth Day
Earth Day first began on April 22, 1970. Forty-two years later, it still serves its purpose well: to promote awareness and appreciation of Earth’s natural environment. Although it originated in the United States, it is now celebrated in more than 175 countries around the world.
Less than a month ago, we celebrated Earth Hour. That event was designed to encourage everyone to turn off the lights for one hour in the name of conserving energy. Earth Day has a much broader mandate. Although it goes without saying that conserving energy is one way to show appreciation for the environment, there is much more to consider than simply minimizing energy wastage. The environment is our world. How we alter it will have a lasting impact and we can never forget that. As the Scottish-born American naturalist and author John Muir once said, “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”
I’d like you to consider what you’ll do to honour Earth Day. Think of it as our planet’s birthday. Will you give a significant gift, like putting your time and energy into something to help improve our planet in some way? Will you make a tiny gesture, because it’s really just the thought that counts? (For people that might work, but for the planet—not so much.) Or will you conveniently let it slip by without making any effort to do something about it?
In Canada, there are a number of events taking place. One example is at the Toronto Zoo, where they are hosting a Party for the Planet on both Saturday April 21 and Sunday April 22, from 10-4 p.m. EDT. Reconnecting with our furry and feathered friends who share this planet with us is an excellent way to spend the day. You can find out about other ways Canada is addressing Earth Day here.
In the US Capitol of Washington, DC, there will be an event held on April 22nd from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. EDT at the National Mall entitled “Mobilize the Earth.” In addition to musical entertainment, there will be speakers, celebrities, education and renewable energy demonstrations, all in the name of promoting awareness and change.
If you don’t live near Toronto or Washington, DC, I encourage you to explore what local happenings might be closer to home for you to consider. For myself, my family and I will be starting Sunday, April 22nd with a hike. Our backyard is 4.5 acres of untouched forest which then connects to Ministry of Natural Resources land. Other than a few foot paths that have been created in years past, it is mostly completely natural and a great way to appreciate the beauty of the environment.
Then, from 1-4 p.m. EDT, I will be doing an Earth Day book-signing for “Comprehending the Climate Crisis” at the Chapters Bookstore in Barrie, Ontario. Although I hope to sell a few books, I care most about discussing environmental issues with the customers there, and encouraging them to think about ways to protect and preserve our world. Sadly, the environment is not as much of a renewable resource as many would like, and every time we harm our planet—whether in the atmosphere, the geoshpere, the hydrosphere, or the biosphere—we need to think about the repercussions.
I wish you all a happy and healthy Earth Day, both for you and for our planet. Please do what you can to make a difference.