Young World

Love life, love earth

HYDERABAD, 31/07/2012: School children planting trees during the 63rd Vana Mahotsav at Tummaluru Village, Maheshwaram Mandal, Ranga Reddy District near Hyderabad on July 31, 2012. The 63rd Vana Mahotsav is being celebrated today throughout the State. Two million saplings are being planted at deferent locations in all the districts.Photo: K. Ramesh Babu   | Photo Credit: K_RAMESH BABU

The last couple of years have seen phenomenal developments in the field of space travel. So much so that we’ve found evidence that Mars can support life and preparations are underway to send humans to inhabit the red planet. Earthlings will become Martians. Soon, there’ll be pin codes and streets on Mars. Maybe cricket will become popular too and there’ll be a Mars Day too.

But hang on, let’s not jump the gun. Speaking of days to celebrate birth and life, today’s a pretty important day on earth, for earth and all of us inhabiting the green-and-blue planet. Today, April 22, Earth turns another year older… several million and a year, perhaps?

Today is Earth Day.

This year’s celebrations are particularly important as the landmark Paris Agreement has been signed by the U.S., China, and 120 other countries. This satisfies a primary requirement for the entry of the draft climate protection treaty adopted by the consensus of the 195 nations that were present at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015.

How it began

In 1969, at a UNESCO Conference, John McConnell, a peace activist, proposed a day to honour Earth. The proposed day was March 21, 1970, the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere. A month later, a separate Earth Day, April 22, was founded by U.S. Senator, Gaylord Nelson. While the April 22 Earth Day was focused on the U.S., Earth Day Network launched by Denis Hayes, took it international.

Stoke the green thumb

Now, Earth Day is celebrated in more than 180 nations. Some countries dedicate a whole week to celebrating the earth. A number of activities including planting saplings, classroom activities, tree walks and discussions on environmental problems that plague the earth form an integral part of the celebrations.

Much like the themed birthday parties popular today, celebrating the Earth’s birthday too involves new themes. This year, the theme is Trees for the Earth. Trees play an instrumental role, in maintaining the eco-balance, providing food, and more. Earth Day Network chose this theme, keeping in mind Earth Day 2020, which will mark 50 years of the 50th Earth Day celebrations. According to the Earth Day Network, our planet is currently losing over 15 billion trees each year due to deforestation, land development, and bad forest management. By announcing Trees for the Earth (#Trees4Earth), the EDN plans to plant 7.8 billion trees by 2020.

Over the years

On the first Earth Day, in 1970, participants from over 2000 colleges and universities, roughly 10,000 primary and secondary schools, and 100s of communities across the U.S. came together to celebrate the day.

In 1990, the celebrations expanded to a world stage. It mobilised 200 million people in 141 countries to give a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide. It helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

The 20th anniversary celebrations saw stronger marketing tools, greater access to television and radio, and multimillion-dollar budgets. It was the first year that Earth Day used the Internet to link activists from across the world.

In 2013, Indian poet-diplomat, Abhay Kumar released Earth Anthem. UNESCO termed as “a creative and inspiring thought that would contribute to bringing the world together”. The US Consul General, Jennifer McIntyre, said Kumar’s Earth Anthem was a significant contribution and truly an anthem for the Earth. Translated into eight languages including Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Nepali, French, and Russian among others, it is also used by India’s Central Board for Secondary Education for educational purposes.

Do your bit

Spend time outdoors: One of the simplest ways to talk about earth is to get outside! Go camping if that’s your thing, or just spend the day exploring, hiking or walking.

Conservation is key: Talk about the importance of energy and resource conservation. You can start with something as small as turning lights off when you leave a room, closing the tap while brushing your teeth or unplugging things when not in use.

Get creative: Make up stories about the Earth and tell your friends and family.

Be proactive: Join up for events planned on Earth Day —recycling, raising money for local nature centres, marathons, etc.

Plant trees: One tiny sapling and a few minutes of your time can add to the green cover.

Composting: Set up compost bins in your homes. Composting helps reduce garbage that ends up in landfills, and it can benefit your plants.

Saving the sphere with a selfie

In 2014, NASA participated in Earth Day by launching a Global Selfie event. People were asked to take a photo of themselves outside and post it to social media using the hashtag #GlobalSelfie


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Printable version | Jun 11, 2021 1:50:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/kids/its-earth-day-today-lets-find-out-how-to-help/article8505274.ece

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