Earth Day is right around the corner. Here's how to get involved
On January 28, 1969, an oil well blew up off the coast of Santa Barbara, California. Under immense pressure, oil opened five separate gashes in the seabed, and so much gas flooded to the surface that the water appeared to boil.
Slowly but surely, millions of gallons of crude oil oozed from the fissures, forming a massive, tarry, and black slick that eventually covered an area nearly the size of Chicago. This was an oil spill that at the time ranked as the largest in U.S. waters.
The impact on marine life was huge. It was the dying of countless animals and ravaging of a wonderful biodiversity by an Armageddon of blackness that got the public's attention and spurred lawmakers into action.
And the year 1969 marked a watershed moment for environmental advocacy, leading to the establishment of the federal Environmental Protection Agency as well as the passing of California’s Environmental Quality Act and the federal Environmental Protection Act. It also inspired a day to think and learn about the problems our world is facing — Earth Day.
More than half a century after its establishment in 1970, Earth Day is coming up on April 22. And now might be a good moment to think about what that means to you.
Earth Day 2022: 'Invest in Our Planet'
The theme of this year's Earth Day is "Invest in Our Planet". The annual events surrounding the day act as a call to action for the preservation of our Earth, ushering in discussions about preserving the biosphere and atmosphere, fighting pollution, investing in renewable energy, and a plethora of other sustainability-related causes.
Today, the Paris Climate Agreement has now been in effect for more than six years. Nonetheless, humanity's carbon emissions continue to rise, putting our planet at risk of catastrophic climate calamity as we do the bare minimum to change the way we live, the way we exploit, and the way we demand.
With each year, we are digging ourselves deeper into climate and ecological debt and disaster. However, the time to act is "now or never", according to an April report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). With tipping points appearing everywhere with ranging intensities, there has never been a more critical time to commemorate Earth Day.
Time is short. How can you get involved?
“We need to act (boldly), innovate (broadly), and implement (equitably). It’s going to take all of us. All in. Businesses, governments, and citizens — everyone accounted for, and everyone accountable. A partnership for the planet,” the Earth Day website says.
Fortunately, there will be several activities taking place around the world, which means there will be numerous opportunities for people to get involved. Site cleanups, festivals, conservation events, teach-ins, film screenings, webinars, and other activities are all available. Whether you prefer to attend a local event, organize your own, or simply celebrate at home, you can undoubtedly find something that speaks to you.
Earth Day gives us all the opportunity to join a movement that prioritizes our planet and its future. Then, the next step is to ensure that we make every day Earth Day, by continuing to be a part of movements that are trying to stop the production and consumption of fossil fuels and start building up our own relationship with nature.
To get you thinking about what you can do, you may visit the Earth Day 2022 website to see what people in your area are up to.
The Hybrid Observatory for Earth-like Exoplanets (HOEE) would convert the largest ground-based telescopes into the most powerful planet finders yet.