India has been celebrating Earth Day on April 22 for several years now, but the The Earth Day 2020 is special for everyone, because first of all this is the 50th year of the Global Event and secondly, we are standing at a significant time impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic and resulting quarantines. This year is also highly remarkable for the two major environmental disasters that happened in 2019 - the Amazon Fire and 2019-2020 Australian Bushfires that will have a long term effect on the environment.
In the Emissions Gap Report of 2019 by the United Nations Environment Program, experts opine that the global percentage of CO2 emissions need an urgent reduction by at least 7.6% and only if the scale is continued for several years thereafter, only then will it be possible to keep the Global Climate under a 1.5oC, temperature.
There have been some positive impacts on the environment due to the month long lockdowns and minimal use of vehicle emission and industrial fumes. Paralelly, many environment experts have also cited that the score is most likely to reverse drastically once the lockdowns are lifted. This is a high time for taking more stringent action against climate change and environment restoration, and it is more crucial than ever before.
As this year most of the Earth Day commemorations and events are going to be online, most of the attention of such activities will be directed towards mobilizing, educating and empowering environmental activists of the next generation
The Great Global Cleanup organised by earthday.org will see postponed events mostly till after the COVID-19 pandemic is controlled and the quarantines of respective cities are lifted.
The same organisation is holding its Citizen Science initiative aiming to collect 1 Billion data points to assess the quality of Air, Water, Human Health and General Contaminants in the Environment. Several organisations from the Health and Technology fields are joining forces to back this initiative and reforming better methods for an environmentally compliant lifestyle.
On April 22, and throughout the week of Earth Day, there will be several education programs, events and discussions about post COVID-19 environmental impact. Anyone can join and participate in these online activities and endorse new drills for a better tomorrow.
The inception of a probable Earth Day can be traced back to a day near the end of January 1969, when an offshore platform of Union Oil blew off, causing a severe oil spill into the Santa Barbara Channel, killing at least 10,000 marine animals and polluting the waters to a massive extent. This catastrophe, which is now readily remembered as the Santa Barbara Oil Spill, is one of the world’s largest oil spills and the third largest in the United States of America.
Reacting to the calamity, several environmental activists in Santa Barbara and other parts of America came together to work towards the reformation of stringent Environmental Regulation in the country, along with the creation of stoic education and awareness programs and the day of the event can be conceived as something like an Earth Day.
The most prominent people working towards the making of the Earth Day, were also the frontliners working in the disaster relief programs following the Santa Barbara Oil Spill, such as Marc McGinnes, Selma Rubin and Bud Bottoms.
The first day in the life of the Modern World was on April 22, 1970, when about 20 million Americans united, mostly comprised of pupils from over two thousand academic institutions combining schools, colleges and universities, for a peaceful demonstration in hope of a better world, in what turned out to be the largest demonstration in the history of environmental welfare, an event largely organised by Denis Hayes, with a Federal Proclamation by then Senator of Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson who was also an active environmentalist, to have inspired the idea after seeing the Santa Barbara channel from his plane after the Santa Barbara Oil Spill.
Since that event in 1970, Earth Day has been increasingly celebrated across the world on April 22, and today, after 50 years of that event, the day is commemorated by 192 countries, hundreds of organisations and several billion people.
Earth Day is bigger than you and us, it is about the future, not only of mankind but of the 1.5billioon other species that have equal rights to the planet.