The Earth Day 2019 Cleanup
Earth Day was first celebrated as an anniversary of the 1969 Santa Barbara Oil Spill. In 1969, Union Oil Platform accidentally blew an oil well. As a result, more than three million gallons of oil spilled, killing more than 10,000 seabirds, dolphins, seals, and sea lions. This was a shock to the nation, and activists scrambled to bring awareness to such a horrendous event. It was at this point that Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, formulated the idea for a national Earth Day. By infusing the student anti-war movement energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, he could inspire environmental protection reform in the political realm. Thus, Earth Day was created as an environmental teaching moment. The first celebration took place across two thousand colleges and universities, ten thousand primary and secondary schools, and hundreds of communities scattered across the country. It brought together over 20 million Americans peacefully protesting for environmental reform. It was even recognized by President Nixon, as he and First Lady Pat Nixon planted a tree on the south lawn of the White House in recognition of the celebration. Today, 192 countries observe Earth Day, as it is coordinated by the nonprofit Earth Day Network.
As we march towards the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Earth Day Network annually organizes several events surrounding environmental reform. For instance, this year alone there are several campaigns aimed at organizing communities such as the Earth Day 2019 Cleanup and The Great Global Cleanup. During the month of April, The Earth Day Network joined with grassroots organizations and community members to clean up green spaces, urban landscaped and waterways, all done through volunteers across the country. With thousands of volunteers, you can get involved too. They heavily advocate for local community cleanups, which means community trash pickups, aimed at helping solve the major pollution epidemic. Apart from the Earth Day 2019 Cleanup, The Earth Day Network has partnered with nations throughout the world to build Earth’s largest cleanup crew. Together they are actively removing billions of pieces of trash from neighborhoods, beaches, rivers, lakes, trails, and parks. In doing so, they are reducing waste and plastic pollution, improving habitats, and preventing harm to wildlife and humans. Altogether, Earth Day Network is “advocating for policies that reduce pollution, reaching people everywhere to take individual actions that reduce waste, and organizing massive global cleanup for April 2020.” Visit Earthday.org to find out how you can get involved!