Earth Day 2024
by Roberta B. Turner

Earth Day is an annual event on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection.

First held on April 22, 1970, it now includes a wide range of events coordinated globally by including 1 billion people in more than 193 countries.

International Earth Day was founded by John McConnell, of Davis City, Iowa, to make earth inhabitants aware of their responsibility to care for the planet. In September, 1969, he proposed the establishment of Earth Day to the San Francisco, California Board of Supervisors. After approval, he gained support from many others. In 1970, McConnell wrote an Earth Day Proclamation which was ultimately signed by UN Secretary General U Thant on March 21, 1971.

The official theme for 2024 is “Planet vs. Plastics.” The theme calls to advocate for widespread awareness on the health risk of plastics, rapidly phase out all single use plastics, and urgently push for a strong UN Treaty according to is changing human attitudes about and behavior toward plastics and reducing plastic pollution. The End Plastic Pollution campaign helps people understand the impacts of plastic pollution on human and ecosystem health and how everyday actions can lessen the problem.

The campaign draws attention to the harmful effects of plastic in our environment, harming marine and human health, littering beaches and landscapes, clogging waste streams and landfills, and empowers people to make a difference.

Global plastics has reached an estimated 460 million metric tons in recent years. It is estimated that 75 to 199 million tons of plastic are currently in our oceans. One million plastic bottles are purchased every minute worldwide, while up to five trillion plastic bags are used a year.

The first Earth Day mobilized millions of Americans from all walks of life, giving birth to a broad new movement to protect the planet. On this day 20 million Americans, 10% of the U.S. population at the time, took to streets, college campuses and hundreds of cities to protest environmental ignorance and demand a new way forward. The first Earth Day is credited with launching the modern environmental movement. Earth Day is now recognized as the planet’s largest civic event each year.

There are many Earth Day activities planned in South Florida from festivals, tree planting events, beach clean-ups and many others to choose from. Please check out one that you might enjoy participating in. Most are free.