In the 45th year of Earth Day celebrations, has anything changed on the ground.

It’s 45 years since the world started observing Earth Day but for all the hype, it has only gotten a little worse. Issues like global warming, deforestation, ozone layer depletion and pollution are causing irreparable damage to the environment. By any reasonable standard, the ecosystem is in trouble and getting worse.

What is Earth Day?

22 April is celebrated as Earth Day. It is one of the most widely celebrated environmental events across the globe. Events are held worldwide to increase awareness and appreciation of the Earth’s natural environment. Currently it is celebrated in more than 192 countries each year. It was originally celebrated at spring equinox around 21 March every day but now the United Nations has designated 22 April as the International Mother Earth Day.

Earth Day is all about appreciating the uniqueness of planet Earth with its incredible biodiversity. Various national and international activities are conducted to understand the biodiversity and how should we protect our nature – plants, animals and environment.

How did it start?

The Earth Day was first celebrated on 21 March, 1970, after peace activist John McConnell moved forward a proposal in UNESCO to fix a day to honor the Earth. A month later, US senator Gaylord Nelson founded a separate Earth Day as an environmental teach-in first held on 22 April,1970. Earlier, Earth Day was confined to Unites States only but in 1990, an organisation launched by Denis Hayes took it international and organized events in 141 nations.

What is Earth Day Network?

Founded by the organisers of the first Earth Day in 1970, Earth Day Network (EDN) promotes year-round environmental citizenship and action worldwide. Earth Day Network is a driving force, steering environmental awareness around the world. EDN’s international network reaches over 22,000 organisations in 192 countries, while the domestic programme assists over 30,000 educators, coordinating thousands of community development and environmental protection activities throughout the year.

The organisation promotes various ideas to increase awareness such as focussing on the concept of Reduce, Recycle and Reuse, pledging friends and family to fight against global warming, planting trees and saplings, collecting and removing garbage, imparting environmental education to help people understand the effects of climate change, cleaning of roads and parks, signing petitions, showing movies and many more.

Why do we need an Earth Day?

Earth Day broadens the base of support for environmental programs, rekindles public commitment and builds community activism around the world through a broad range of events and activities. Earth Day is the largest civic event in the world, celebrated simultaneously around the globe by people of all backgrounds, faiths and nationalities. More than a billion people participate in our campaigns every year.

What can you do for Earth Day?

The possibilities for getting involved are endless. Volunteer. Go to a festival. Install solar panels on your roof. Organise an event in your community. Change a habit. Help launch a community garden. Communicate your priorities to your elected representatives. Do something nice for the Earth, have fun, meet new people, and make a difference. But you needn’t wait for 22 April. Earth Day is Every Day. To build a better future, we all must commit to protect our environment year-round.

Earth Day highlights many environmental issues but some years, certain issues receive more attention than others. This year, the Earth Day Network is launching the Green Generation Campaign which focuses on reducing carbon emissions through renewable energy sources, promoting sustainable consumption, and creating greener jobs and a greener economy.

However, simply observing one day in the year as Earth Day is not enough! What is needed is a more aggressive strategy, stricter laws to address these issues prudently and seriously, else the world is headed for disaster.