This Friday, April 22, marks the 46th annual Earth Day celebration. Earth day was first celebrated in 1970 and was created by Senator Gaylord Nelson. When he announced his plan for a “national teach-in” on environmental subjects to take place on April 22, there was widespread approval and excitement for the plan. This first Earth Day was a huge success and marked a permanent change in public attitudes about the environment and pollution.
Thanks to the success of the first event, Earth Day celebrations continued each year. In 1990, Earth Day became a global event with more than 200 million people in 141 countries participating. It is estimated that over 1 billion people will participate in Earth Day events in 2016. The nonprofit Earth Day Network grew out of the first Earth Day and now spearheads events across the globe. The organization also works on environmental initiatives such as planting trees and encouraging the use of renewable energy sources.
On Earth Day 2016 the groundbreaking Paris Agreement will open for signature. The Paris Agreement is an unprecedented international treaty intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase the use of clean energy sources across the globe in order to avoid the dangerous effects of further climate change. The treaty was negotiated by representatives from 195 nations, and at least 120 countries are expected to sign the agreement.
If you want to celebrate the Earth in Richmond, this year there are two great festivals taking place on Saturday, April 23. Both events are family friendly and promise to be a great, green time.
The Earthday Richmond Festival, organized by the Enrichmond Foundation, will take place at Great Shiplock Park in Shockoe Bottom from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event will feature earth-friendly food and drink, art, exhibits, entertainment, and a craft market. You can enjoy outdoor activities including guided mountain biking, kayaking on the James River, and more. The Enrichmond Foundation is also organizing an Earth Day 5K race that will take place concurrently with the festival. The race benefits EarthCraft Virginia.
The RVA Earth Day Festival will take place in Manchester between Plant Zero and the riverside. This festival is organized by Style Weekly and will run from 12 to 7 p.m. Activities will include arts and crafts, live music from local bands, yoga demonstrations, face painting, and more. The event will also feature food and beverage from local food trucks and craft breweries.
Wherever and however we choose to celebrate Earth Day, we can reflect on Senator Nelson’s words when he announced that very first Earth Day in 1970. His vision is one that we can all share as we try to keep in mind our natural environment and our planet all year round.
“Our goal is not just an environment of clean air and water and scenic beauty. The objective is an environment of decency, quality, and mutual respect for all other human beings and all other living creatures.”
How will you celebrate Earth Day? Don’t forget to like and share!