Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day 2015: The Marriage of Economic Growth and Sustainability

Each year Earth Day celebrated on April 22 and 2015 marks the 45th anniversary of this international environmental protection event. Earth Day is the largest civic observance in the world today. All around our planet a billion people will participate in thousands of events. Almost 2 billion "acts of green" will take place on and around the day to demonstrate support for a healthier environment and a sustainable life. Earth Day was first celebrated in the US in 1970 and now more than 192 countries are involved. The inaugural event saw 20 million Americans showing their support for the environment. The movement contributed to the creation of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.
For more information on the history of Earth Day click here.

This year economic growth and sustainability must come together. Under the slogan "It’s our turn to lead," the theme of this year's Earth Day reaches out to world leaders and calls them to follow our example. Earth Day is an opportunity to communicate the importance of combating climate change. This message is prescient as we move towards a global climate agreement at the end of the year in Paris.

People are acting in meaningful ways that are changing our relationship to the planet. Citizens and organizations are divesting from fossil fuels and putting their money into clean energy in unprecedented numbers. Countries and businesses are increasing carbon emissions reduction and gradually moving towards renewable forms of energy. Pressure is growing to put a price on carbon and sustainable development is gaining traction.

Earth Day is also an opportunity to reach out to those who see climate change as a remote problem that is a concern for future generations. The day helps people to understand that the climate is already changing and the problem will get far worse if we fail to act.

Climate science is clear about what must be done. We already possess the technological solutions, what we seek is the political will to engage responsible action.

Related
President Obama's Earth Day Address: Action on Climate Change Cannot Wait (Video)
Responding to Grist's Anti-Earth Day Rants
Earth Day Review of American Environmental Attitudes
The Importance of Science and Nature on Earth Day
Earth Day Activities and Actions in the US and Canada

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