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Earth Day

Aprile 2020
20 milioni di americani parteciparono alla prima giornata nel 1970. 50 anni, mentre cerchiamo di fare fronte al cambiamento climatico, avrà luogo la più grande mobilitazione globale a favore dell’ambiente.

di Talitha Linehan

File audio:

Speakers: Rachel Roberts (British accent)

There are many important causes but there’s probably no cause more important to humanity than saving the planet. And so there’s probably no day more important than Earth Day, an annual event on April 22nd that is 50 years old this year.


Today, the world is facing a global disaster caused by climate change, and it was another disaster that inspired the first Earth Day, namely the 1969 oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, which was at that time the largest oil spill in US history. A senator from Wisconsin named Gaylord Nelson saw the devastation caused by the oil spill and this inspired him to campaign for environmental protection, and to inspire others to do so too.


In 1970, a year after the oil spill, Nelson organised the first Earth Day, a national educational day about the environment. On April 22nd, twenty million Americans, including students from more than 12,000 universities, colleges and schools, participated in demonstrations calling for a safer and more sustainable environment. Earth Day brought together advocates of all different environment causes, led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and other important environmental legislation, and is credited with initiating the modern environmental movement.


Twenty years later, in 1990, Earth Day became an international event, and on Earth Day 2016, representatives from almost two hundred nations signed the Paris Agreement, promising to mitigate the effects of climate change. Today, Earth Day includes events in more than 190 countries coordinated by the Earth Day Network.


In celebration of its 50th anniversary, the Earth Day Network is organising multiple special programs with the purpose of making it “the most diverse global mobilisation in defense of the environment in world history.” These include Citizen Science, which is to collect one billion data points to measure air quality, water quality, pollution and human health, and Foodprints for the Future, to educate people about the connection between food and climate change.


The network expects one billion people to participate in programmes to clean up their environment, by removing one billion pieces of trash, and a hundred million people to participate in other events, including tens of thousands of demonstrations. And it is working with various environmental groups to plant 7.8 billion trees, one for every human on the planet.  


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Foodprints for the Future. Il nome del programma educativo dell’Earth Day Network dedicato all’alimentazione contiene un gioco di parole: la parola foodprints è formata da food (‘cibo’) e footprints (‘impronte‘, ‘orme’), ad indicare che ciò che mangiamo ripercuote direttamente sull’ambiente e da qui la necessità di rendere consapevole la popolazione dell’impatto ecologico del nostro cibo.