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Celebrate Earth Day!

History of Earth Day

Earth Day, which was first observed on April 22, 1970, has paved the way for summits, activism, and environmental regulation leading to the first of its kind in the U.S.: the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act. 

When Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin witnessed the oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, he wanted to take action. He was inspired by the the student anti-war movement and recruited Denis Hayes, a young activist to help him. What started as campus teach-ins would then become a national, and then global movement, gaining over 1 billion people from countries all around the world. 

Earth day has marked important achievements, such as the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2016. 


What are the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act?

The Clean Air Act (enacted  December 1970) allows the EPA to set National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) to protect public health and regulate emissions of hazardous pollutants. The Clean Air Act was created to protect the health of the public by limiting harmful pollutants with growing concerns of smog, acid rain, and damage to the ozone layer. 

Similarly, the Clean Water Act (which became law in 1972) was created to address the public’s concern about water pollution. The act regulates the discharges of pollutants and the quality standards for water. It allows the EPA to create pollution control programs and set wastewater standards for industry. 


What can you do this Earth Day?

Earth Day is celebrated all around the world and is a day to recognize our impact on the environment. From small actions like remembering to turn off the lights, and unplug appliances, to trying a plant-based day of meals and walking to work, there are many things you can do to celebrate Earth Day on the 22nd and every day. 

In Bend, Earth Day celebrations are put on by the Environmental Center. The Environmental Center’s mission is to “embed sustainability into daily life in Central Oregon.” Each year, they put on the Earth Day Fair and Parade which will take place on Saturday, April 20th this year. This parade will take place downtown with costumes, vendors, booths, food, and performers! Check out the schedule here

What else can you do? Try volunteering! There are many organizations in Central Oregon that need volunteers to help with a variety of projects, with opportunities for everyone. Check out a few of those organizations below:

These are just a few organizations that are focused on conservation and the environment in Central Oregon, with many other great organizations that you can get involved with!


How can I learn about the environment?

In this day and age, we have access to an abundance of resources! Try checking out a book at the library or watching a documentary on a streaming service. Documentaries like “Kiss the Ground” and “Chasing Coral” teach you about the climate crisis, while documentaries like “Planet Earth” can show you a great appreciation for the wonders of the Earth.

This Earth Day (and hopefully every day), take time to think about what you can do to live more sustainably. Check out other posts on our blog to learn more about everyday actions, get involved with organizations in your community, vote for representatives that support the environment, and simply show appreciation for the Earth we live on.