The 22nd April 2012 marks the 42nd anniversary of Earth Day – an event which mobilises people in the US, Canada and around the world to call for a sustainable future and directs them towards quantifiable outcomes.
A global movement
Earth Day originated in the U.S when, in 1970, Senator Gaylord Nelson determined to infuse the energy of the widespread anti-war movement with a growing public consciousness about air and water pollution. The first Earth Day was great success, uniting environmental groups around the country and encouraging 20 million Americans to take to the streets in massive rallies.
Since the first Earth Day, the movement has gone global and today the Earth Day Network promotes events and inspires action around the World. The focus of Earth Day 2012 is ‘A Billion Acts of Green’ – a global campaign to collect and quantify environmental commitments from simple acts by individuals up to larger organisational initiatives, that reduce carbon emissions and support sustainability.
The goal is to register one billion actions in advance of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) happening in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012. A large part of the initiative has involved widespread tree planting activities. Some notable contributions so far include:
- China: Roots and Shoots Shanghai planted 600,000 trees across inner Mongolia to preserve depleted rainforests. Educators hosted eco-fairs where students learned about the importance of sustainability.
- Mozambique: the president led a tree-planting initiative in schools across Maputo.
- Avatar Home Tree Initiative: Through a partnership with Twentieth Century Fox and the Avatar Blu Ray and DVD, Earth Day Network and 16 partners planted 1,006,639 trees in 16 countries, directly involving over 31,000 individuals.
In 2011 and 2012, EDN has continued these efforts with The Canopy Project which has the goal of planting another million trees in large-scale tree planting projects supported by sponsors and individual donations and carried out in partnership with non-profit tree planting organisations throughout the world.
You can find out more about Earth Day and pledge your commitment to be part of the Billion Acts of Green by visiting the Earth Day website and making your pledge today.