By Pashon Murray & Nya Marshall
The first Earth Day was observed in the U.S. 50 years ago. The way the history is told, a group of environmentalists had noticed America’s obsession with diesel fuels, inefficient vehicles, and mass consumption—and they thought it could lead to environmental trouble for us all.
At the time, most people only saw the huge profits coming into the country, thanks to expanded manufacturing and industry. Many didn’t realize this wave of expansion was killing our planet.
That first celebration in 1970 led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). By 1990, the celebration had gone global.
Earth Day celebrations are about recognizing the damage done to the planet, and more importantly, how each of us can do our part to counteract it.
Each year on April 22, the world pauses to celebrate this beautiful place that is home to all of humanity: the Earth.
But, much like each day is a great day to celebrate Black history, every day is Earth Day, too.
Why Should I Care?
Mother Earth supports all life that supports our lives. Think about it: We depend on the Earth for everything.
Most of our clothing, housewares, and tools come from the Earth in some way. Our food comes from the planet’s oceans, lakes, forests, and farms. And our most precious resource—drinking water—cannot be manufactured.
As Black people living in America, our environments and our bodies have been historically used to propel this country forward. Now, we have the power to protect what is ours and to ensure that we have something to pass down to future generations.
Dedicating the article to our ancestor George Washington Carver, american agriculturalist, scientist, inventor, pioneer, promoted alternative crops and created ways to prevent soil depletion. He was one of the most prominent black scientist of the early 20th century. He wanted black farmers to grow other crops such as peanuts and sweet potatoes. He promoted environmentalism, he received the Spingarn Medal of the NAACP, his fame went beyond the black community in 1941 Time magazine dubbed him “Black Leonardo” While famously known three presidents acknowledged him and he developed a relationship with Henry Ford.
Earth Day is about making conscious efforts to contribute to a clean, sustainable environment. You can find small ways to help protect the planet each day. It doesn’t take much effort; only a little bit of thought.
5 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day Every Day
1. Ride, Don’t Drive
This is definitely easier to accomplish in Michigan’s warmer months, but consider biking instead of driving to nearby places. This could be to the grocery store, the park, or even to work.
2. Use Refillable Bottles
U.S. landfills have more than 2 million tons of plastic waste from bottled water, according to the HealthyHumanLife.com. Each bottle can take up to 1,000 years to decompose.
Consider using an at-home filtration system and filling your reusable bottles to save the planet some trouble.
3. Sustainably Switch Up Your Fashion
The fast fashion industry contributes some of the most pollution on Earth, second only to the oil industry, according to Edge Fashion Intelligence. The pollutants come from clothing manufacturing operations and consumers quickly discarding their clothing to jump on the next trend.
Fortunately, there are many sustainably made fashion lines that are just a Google search away. Both KINTU New York and Gracemade are Black-owned, but click here for even more Earth-conscious brands created by people of color.
4. Invest in Those Reusable Bags…And Actually Use Them
Plastic bottles aren’t the only thing clogging our landfills. Plastic shopping bags are burdening them and oceans alike. Bringing your own reusable bags on your shopping trips can prevent a plastic bag from suffocating wildlife and waterways.
Pro tip: keep empty reusable bags in your car or on your bike so they’ll always be handy.
5. Get Outside
The best way you can celebrate each day as Earth Day is to spend some time with the planet. Take a walk, go for a run, or grab a book and blanket to unplug for a while in your favorite green space.
Take some time to consider which of these you can incorporate into your daily life, or do them all!
Next month, we’re focusing on the planet’s foundation: dirt.
After all, Dirt Is Everything