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Friday, April 6, 2018

What Is Earth Day About and Why Do We Celebrate It?


Community cleanup day. Two people cleaning up garbage in the park

April 22nd is Earth Day! Celebrated around the world each year, Earth Day celebrates the place we all call home. It’s also about taking action to keep the planet healthy for current and future generations. 

Earth Day is more important than ever in a complex world experiencing a changing climate. The good news is we’re climate optimists, and excited about a cleaner future. Keep reading if you want to be inspired and energized to join the clean energy revolution! 

Earth Day Origins 

Earth Day was established 48 years ago in the United States, when spiraling environmental and energy crises led concerned citizens of all backgrounds to create a day that celebrated the Earth. More importantly, it brought attention to urgent environmental issues and advanced national environmental policies and laws. On April 22, 1970, more than 20 million people participated in Earth Day events. 

That Earth Day left a legacy of environmental policies, including the creation of the EPA, the Clean Air ActClean Water ActEndangered Species Act, and a number of other groundbreaking movements. 

Today Earth Day is the biggest environmental movement on the planet—in fact, it’s the largest civic observance globally, with more than 1 billion people participating in some form of Earth Day event each year.  For many people, it's a way to connect with others who want to do more to protect the planet. For others, Earth Day is a platform to communicate climate action activities available to people where they live. And, even more, it's an opportunity to organize and advocate for positive change.

The Renewable Energy Connection 

Earth Day is about a full spectrum of environmental issues, ranging from human health and pollution, energy consumption, deforestation, climate change, social justice, and more. 

Where does renewable energy fit in? Renewable energy got much of its start from the U.S. energy crisis of the 1970’s. In 1973, a congressman called for energy sources “like the windmill or the old waterwheel that consume nothing and pollute nothing.” Since then, solar and wind energy are fast becoming the answers to America’s sustainable energy needs. 

Solar and wind energy were virtually nonexistent in the United States on the first Earth Day. Pollution was rampant, and very little thought was being given to environmental sustainability. But by the 1970’s, even big oil companies including Shell, BP, and Mobil were beginning to invest in renewable energy, including solar. On the policy front, bills  being passed by Congress called out solar energy as a possible solution to the energy crisis. And, NASA oversaw a project to push wind energy in the United States. Innovations in solar also began to create economically viable solar panels. 

More recently, the growth of the wind and solar energy industries has been exponential. With that industry growth comes a growing workforce to support it. In 2016, the renewable energy field employed more than three million Americans. That’s more than 300,000 Americans who are employed by the fossil fuel industry. 

Earth Day 2018 

So, what’s this year’s Earth Day theme? The Earth Day Network—the organizing body that partners with organizations in 192 countries around the globe—has declared this Earth Day’s focus to be on plastic consumption and pollution. Check out EarthDay.org to learn how you can get smart and get involved with ending plastic pollution. 

You can celebrate Earth Day all year long by switching to clean, renewable energy like wind and solar energy. As a green energy electricity provider, we make choosing clean energy easy. Learn how you can switch your home or business to 100% pollution-free clean energy today!


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