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Earth Day 2022: New investments in our planet urgently needed

Each year on April 22, Earth Day marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. Although this celebration and call for environmental action emerged in the United States, with the efforts of Senator Gaylord Nelson and environmental activist Denis Hayes to bring environmental awareness to the American public, in the 1990s it became a global phenomenon, mobilizing over 200 million people in 141 countries. 

At the start of the new millennium, innovations in digital media provided a massive platform for millions of conversations across more than 180 countries. Now, Earth Day is widely recognized as the largest secular observance of the world, celebrated by over one billion people each year as a day of action to change human behaviors that negatively impact our planet and to create global, national, and local policy changes.

The theme of this year’s Earth Day is “Invest in Our Planet.” This global event is focused on accelerating solutions to combat climate change (a phenomenon considered by many scientists and activists as our greatest current threat) by engaging over one billion people, governments, institutions, and businesses to recognize our collective responsibility towards our planet, and to help accelerating the transition to a prosperous and equitable green economy worldwide.  

According to the organizers of the event, investment in our planet should involve individuals, governments, businesses, and investors. Each small action of every individual citizen could end up having a strong impact on our environment. Yet, citizens should not only ask themselves what daily steps they need to take in order to protect our planet (for instance, to separate waste or drive electric cars), but also try to hold governments and businesses accountable for their actions. 

At the same time, local and national government officials should incentivize their citizens, businesses, and institutions to innovate, in order to create a global economic system relying on green technologies that could curb climate change and thus protect our planet. Finally, it is imperative for businesses and investors to take action too, and embrace the benefits of a green, sustainable economy.

This year, two major initiatives aiming to increase sustainability and protect our planet are the Canopy Project and the Global Cleanup Project. Initiated in 2010, the Canopy Project has helped improving our shared environment by planting tens of millions of trees all over the world. Working with global partners to reforest areas in dire need of rehabilitation – including regions with communities highly at-risk from climate change and environmental degradation – as well as  conducting massive tree planting in the wake of environmental disasters, EARTHDAY.ORG (EDO) has already managed to offer a glimmer of hope for the inhabitants of our increasingly precarious planet. Interested individuals and organizations could help plant a new tree by donating as little as $1.

Another important project that will be relaunched this year is the Great Global Cleanup. This initiative aims to provide opportunities for individuals and organizations to tackle local mismanaged waste in order to make positive, tangible impacts on the environment. “From harming marine and human health, to clogging our waterways and littering communities, plastic pollution is threatening the survival of our shared planet. Cleanups are just one way individuals can get involved to combat this critical issue. For Earth Day 2022, ‘Invest in Our Planet’ means taking action and participating in community measures to help solve the issue of mismanaged waste,” explained Kathleen Rogers, the president of EDO.

This worldwide campaign aims to remove billions of pieces of trash from neighborhoods, rivers, lakes, beaches, trails, and parks. in order to reduce waste and plastic pollution and to prevent harm to both wildlife and humans. Through this program, daily cleanups will play a crucial role in paving the way towards a brighter, greener, and cleaner planet.

By further increasing climate literacy and attracting more contributors from each corner of the world, this year’s Earth Day promises to be a significant step further for building a sustainable future, and making our planet a safe habitat not only for us, humans, but also for a large number of frequently imperiled ecosystems. 

By Andrei Ionescu, Staff Writer

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