Earlier during our Earth April celebration we caught you up on the creation of Earth Day in 1970. In the 45 years since, the celebrations of Earth Day have grown and varied, spreading as the knowledge and attention to the planet, environment, and climate change have grown. In anniversary years, large demonstrations have stuck out as especially memorable from among the decades.
Earth Day 1990 marked the greatest advancement of the cause since its inauguration 20 years before. Earth Day 1990 marked the celebrations introduction on a truly global scale, with 200 million people in 141 countries participating in events and demonstrations to raise awareness of environmental dangers. According to EarthDay.org, 1990’s events were specifically impactful on the increase in recycling efforts around the world. Recycling was not as commonplace and standard as it is today in 1990, but a focus on its benefits during the year’s Earth Day festivities encouraged its implementation on a much larger scale. Earth Day 1990 was also key in initiating the 1992 UN Earth Summit in Brazil, where 172 countries and 2,400 members of non-governmental organizations got together to create the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development which outlined humans’ responsibilities to protect the environment as we continue to develop. The major impacts of Earth Day 1990 also brought Senator Gaylord Nelson, the creator of Earth Day, back into the spotlight and he was eventually awarded the United States’ highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by President Bill Clinton in 1995.
Earth Day 2000 was destined to be another landmark event, with the approaching millennium and the continued increase in attention that climate and environmental causes had gained since 1990’s major demonstration. As EarthDay.org says, “Earth Day 2000 combined the big-picture feistiness of the first Earth Day with the international grassroots activism of Earth Day 1990.”
The spread of the Internet also introduced a new link for the world, making it easier to organize activists and coordinate events across the globe. More than 5,000 groups in more than 180 countries took part, totaling millions of participants. Events included a drum chain that went from village to village in Gabon and a gathering of hundreds of thousands in Washington, DC.
The most recent monumental Earth Day celebration was 2010. While concern for the environment had massively grown by 2010, skepticism of the cause had also increased. Deniers of climate change and those who doubted mankind’s impact on the planet were now fighting against the causes that Earth Day supported. Add in massive industries like oil that had financial interests in downplaying environmental threats, and Earth Day faced its greatest challenge since its birth.
Still, the Earth Day Network gathered nearly a quarter million people in Washington, DC and started their A Billion Acts of Green initiative, getting 40 million pledges towards their billion. They worked with director James Cameron on an initiative to plant 1 million new trees and grew their online membership to close to 1 million people. Despite the opposition, Earth Day was once again a success.
This year’s festivities have already included a massive rally in Washington, DC on April 18, Global Citizen Earth Day, which raised awareness about both environmental issues and global poverty. Bambeco was there, joining with 250,000 like-minded people to support the cause that gave birth to the brand.
However you are supporting Earth Day today, the best way to make your mark is to keep living a sustainable lifestyle not just on April 22nd, but every day.