Tag Archives: Earth Day

What is Earth Day, and what is it meant to accomplish?

by Kathleen Rogers, president, Earth Day Network

On April 22, 1970, millions of people took to the streets to protest the negative impacts of 150 years of industrial development.

In the U.S. and around the world, smog was becoming deadly and evidence was growing that pollution led to developmental delays in children. Biodiversity was in decline as a result of the heavy use of pesticides and other pollutants.

The global ecological awareness was growing, and the US Congress and President Nixon responded quickly. In July of the same year, they created the Environmental Protection Agency, and robust environmental laws such as the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act, among many.

One billion people

Earth Day is now a global event each year, and we believe that more than 1 billion people in 192 countries now take part in what is the largest civic-focused day of action in the world.

It is a day of political action and civic participation. People march, sign petitions, meet with their elected officials, plant trees, clean up their towns and roads. Corporations and governments use it to make pledges and announce sustainability measures. Faith leaders, including Pope Francis, connect Earth Day with protecting God’s greatest creations, humans, biodiversity and the planet that we all live on.

Earth Day Network, the organization that leads Earth Day worldwide, has chosen as the theme for 2018 to End Plastic Pollution, including creating support for a global effort to eliminate primarily single-use plastics along with global regulation for the disposal of plastics. EDN is educating millions of people about the health and other risks associated with the use and disposal of plastics, including pollution of our oceans, water, and wildlife, and about the growing body of evidence that plastic waste is creating serious global problems.

From poisoning and injuring marine life to the ubiquitous presence of plastics in our food to disrupting human hormones and causing major life-threatening diseases and early puberty, the exponential growth of plastics is threatening our planet’s survival….

read more at Earth Day Network

10 Animals Threatened by Climate Change

from Earth Day Network. [N.b. endangered species are the national theme for this year’s Earth Day observance in late April. For Earth Day events in Chester County, see the CCEA calendar.]

Every species worldwide is impacted by climate change. Rising temperatures and sea levels, less rain and more droughts. By 2100, an estimated 50% of all the world’s species could go extinct because of climate change.

Bumblebees are impacted by climate change in two related ways: Rising temperatures force populations northward to remain in cool climates and spring flowers bloom earlier than normal, leaving less time for bees to pollinate.

Whales rely on specific ocean temperatures for their migration, feeding, and reproductive habits. As sea temperatures rise, these changes disrupt habits necessary for whale survival.

Asian elephant habitat is negatively impacted by both lower rainfall and higher temperatures. Together, these threats have decreased the reproductive capacity of an already endangered species.

Giraffes have seen their population decline by 40% in the last 30 years. In addition to illegal poaching, two the most pressing dangers shrinking habitat and fewer acacia trees (their main food source) due to climate change.

Insects stand to suffer drastically from climate change. At the current rate of warming (2°C), roughly 18% of all insect species would be lost by 2100; if the planet were to warm by 3.2°C, that number would rise to 49%.

Oceanic bird species are directly threatened by rising sea levels due to climate change. Rising waters can submerge their coastal habitats and nests completely.

Sharks have difficulty hunting and a higher embryo mortality rate as ocean temperature and acidity rise worldwide. In the Pacific Ocean, rising temperatures force sharks northward by an average of 30 kilometers annually, disrupting ecosystems that depend on sharks.

Coral reefs are endangered due to rising sea temperatures. In the last three years alone, 72% of the world’s coral reefs protected by UNESCO experienced severe heat stress. Sustained heat stress causes coral bleaching, an often deadly occurrence in which coral starves from a loss of nutrition.

Monarch butterfly populations in California have fallen by as much as 95% since the 1980s due to habitat loss, increasing use of pesticides and loss of milkweed populations, all related to climate change caused by humans.

Great apes of Southeast Asia, perhaps the most endangered ape species, are in jeopardy of extinction due to deforestation caused by climate change with nearly 75% of forest cover at risk of deforestation.

See Earth Day Network for links and background info.