We shouldn’t have to tell you, of course, that every day should be Earth Day.
Be that as it may, April 22 marks the date where citizens worldwide pat themselves on the back for turning off the lights when they leave the room and save planet Earth from impending doom.
For many, it is much more, while for others – climate change deniers, well-funded oil lobbyists, ignorant politicians – it is essentially meaningless left-wing fear-mongering.
One thing is very clear: we’re poisoning our world at alarming speed, even in our own backyard, and every bit of publicity to reverse this trend can only be seen as a positive.
On that note, here are 16 things you should know about Earth Day:
1. Earth Day marks the start of the modern environment movement in 1970 during a period of social, cultural, and political revolution. Happy 45th, Earth Day.
2. Rachel Carson’s 1962 book ‘Silent Spring’ is considered a major source of inspiration for the movement – but is certainly not without its flaws. Perhaps avoid this work if you’re going to dive into environmental literature.
3. The very first Earth Day was hugely influential: When polled in May 1971, 25 percent of the U.S. public declared protecting the environment to be an important goal, a 2,500 percent increase over 1969.
4. Not all acts of environmentalism are created equal. Do your research on environmental degradation and don’t be a chemophobe out of principle.
5. Technology is starting to play a big role in curbing our wasteful habits. This app, for example, tracks your daily energy consumption and offers suggestions for practicing more environmentally sustainable habits. Go fetch those carbon units!
6. Cloud Cult are widely considered to be the world’s greenest band, releasing their 2010 album Running With the Wolves to coincide with Earth Day and being staunchly eco-friendly in everything from their live shows to recording studio.
9. Earth Day has an official anthem, played to the tune of Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’.
10. Over a billion people participate in Earth Day initiatives, making it one of the largest movements in the world.
11. Some people suggest April 22 was chosen as Earth Day to commemorate Lenin’s birthday. A very ambitious, almost certainly incorrect assumption.
12. You can help the world reach 2 billion acts of green – only 900,000,000 or so to go!
13. Canada, unfortunately, has fallen behind the rest of the world when it comes to environmental protection.
14. The single-day attendance record for an Earth Day event was 40,000 people at Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo in 2007.
15. NASA turned selfies into an Earth Day awareness movement last year…and the result was amazing. There’s no reason you can’t take a #GlobalSelfie this year, either.
16. The end of this year marks what will be the world’s most important climate change conference in Paris. It’s time to start getting serious.