Earth Day 2021 is fast approaching! Though I certainly wish everyday were Earth Day, April 22 will have to do for now.
While the holiday is now recognized across the country, it is particularly important at the University of Wisconsin.
Believe it or not, Wisconsin Senator and UW Law School graduate Gaylord Nelson was the original founder of Earth Day, 51 years ago. Nelson was an accomplished and celebrated environmentalist who fought for environmental regulations throughout his career. You may recognize his name from UW’s Gaylord Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies.
After witnessing the devastating Santa Barbara oil spill of 1969, Nelson was inspired to organize teach-ins on college campuses across the country. He was able to garner bipartisan support and recruit some youth activists to help lead.
Then on April 22, 1970 Nelson’s dream was realized. Over 20 million Americans took to the streets for protests, rallies and demonstrations, all highlighting the harmful impacts of overconsumption and pollution.
Today, Earth Day is observed across the globe with over one billion people coming together in hopes of creating change.
If you’re looking for ways to observe Earth Day, the UW Office of Sustainability will be hosting a variety of events from April 18 to April 23. These free events are a great opportunity to celebrate the Earth as well as reflect on our own habits and relationship with the environment.
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The 2021 Earth Week schedule includes a plant giveaway, a virtual 5k, a wellbeing workshop and a crocheting event. On Earth Day itself, there will be a collaborative mural painting, a sustainability roundtable, a speaker on conservation and environmental justice and even Zoom Earth Day Trivia.