Earth Day 2022: How it started and how to celebrate
Earth Day 2022 will fall on Friday, April 22 and this year’s theme is "Invest In Our Planet. What Will You Do?" according to earthday.org.
"This is the moment to change it all — the business climate, the political climate, and how we take action on climate," the website stated. "Now is the time for the unstoppable courage to preserve and protect our health, our families, our livelihoods."
Advocates are pushing citizens, governments and businesses to do what they can to combat the climate crisis to "build a healthy planet for our children and their children."
The history of Earth Day
The first Earth Day was held in April 1970, before the Environmental Protection Agency, Clean Air Act or Clean Water Act even existed. At that time, there were simply no laws in place aimed at protecting the environment.
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According to earthday.org, a book by Rachel Carson titled "Silent Spring" released in 1962 helped begin raising public awareness and concern for the environment. It sold more than 500,000 copies in 24 countries.Then, according to the EPA, in the spring of 1970, Senator Gaylord Nelson created Earth Day as a way to bring the issue into the national spotlight. After 20 million Americans demonstrated across the country, Congress authorized the creation of a new federal agency to tackle environmental issues, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in December 1970.
In 1990, David Hayes, the first national coordinator, partnered with Nelson to expand Earth Day celebrations in more than 100 countries, turning it into a global event.
It falls on April 22 every year.
How to celebrate Earth Day 2022
Earthday.org says there are many events planned around the world to help celebrate Earth Day.
The Canopy Project will plant trees around the world for every $1 donation.
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The Great Global Cleanup is a global campaign to remove billions of pieces of trash from neighborhoods, beaches, rivers, lakes, trails, and parks. It’s an effort to reduce waste and plastic pollution, improve habitats and prevent harm to wildlife and humans. Several cities are hosting related events.
Advocates also say there are other ways people can help simply by making changes in their daily lives such as composting and using reusable utensils.
Several cities across the country are hosting their own events including tree planting, exhibits and other activities.
Climate change continues to be a priority for Biden
President Joe Biden faces a steep path to achieving his ambitious goal of slashing planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, amid legislative gridlock that has stalled a $2 trillion package of social and environmental initiatives.
Biden’s Build Back Better plan, which contains $550 billion in spending and tax credits aimed at promoting clean energy, was sidetracked by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who said just before Christmas that he could not support the legislation as written.
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Even without the legislation, Biden can pursue his climate agenda through rules and regulations. But those can be undone by subsequent presidents, as demonstrated by Biden reversing Trump administration rules that rolled back protections put into place under Barack Obama.
Experts cite Biden’s executive authority to regulate tailpipe emissions from cars and trucks, as well as restrict emissions from power plants and other industrial sources, and the federal government’s vast power to approve renewable energy projects on federal lands and waters.
Indeed, the Environmental Protection Agency announced new tailpipe rules for cars and trucks the day after Manchin’s bombshell announcement Dec. 19. The Interior Department also announced approval of two large-scale solar projects in California and moved to open up public lands in other Western states to solar development as part of the administration’s efforts to counter climate change by shifting from fossil fuels.
The administration also has access to tens of billions of dollars under the bipartisan infrastructure law approved in November, including $7.5 billion to create a national network of electric vehicle chargers; $5 billion to deliver thousands of electric school buses nationwide; and $65 billion to upgrade the power grid to reduce outages and facilitate expansion of renewable energy such as wind and solar power.
"I think the U.S. has a lot of tools and a lot of options to make gains on climate in the next decade,″ said John Larsen, an energy systems expert and partner at the Rhodium Group, an independent research firm.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.