Earth Day 2021 focuses on restoring ecosystems amid global pandemic

Over 50 years dedicated to environmental change

Have plans yet for Earth Day? (Pexels stock image)

Every year on April 22 Earth Day is observed around the globe. Environmentalists come together to help further climate action. The words “Restore our Earth” are more than just a theme for Earth Day 2021, it’s a firm statement that a healthy planet is not an option. Having a healthy environment for survival is a necessity.

Spring sunset on Lake Minneola at Waterfront Park in Clermont. (WKMG)

This focus on emerging green technologies and restoring ecosystems across the world is not new. It didn’t just happen overnight. In fact, the first Earth day happened over 50 years ago. Let’s take a look at the evolution.

April 22, 1970

FILE - In this Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010 file photo, Dr. Bob MacLean, Audubon Institute senior veterinarian, releases a sea turtle that had previously been impacted by oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, back into the Gulf of Mexico, 45 miles off the coast of Louisiana. Ten years after the nation's biggest offshore oil spill fouled its waters, the Gulf of Mexico sparkles in the sunlight and its fish are safe to eat. But scientists who have spent $500 million dollars from BP researching the impact of the Deepwater Horizon disaster have found much to be concerned about. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File) (Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Following the 1969 massive oil spill in California and decades of health and environmental impacts from the constant rise in industrial development, the first Earth Day grabbed the attention of national news. Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin brought together a series of events all over the nation that sparked change.

Demonstrations flooded the streets as 20 million inspired Americans demanded a change to protect the precious planet we call home before it was too late. By the end of the year, the Environmental Protection Agency was created and the first environmental laws like the Clean Air Act were put in motion.

April 22, 1990

20 years after its inception, Earth Day was reborn. This time it wasn’t just in the U.S., it went global.

Smart Bins Help Recycling Effort

Almost 150 countries and 200-million people brought a big spotlight to recycling and the worldwide efforts taken to protect vital ecosystems.

April 22, 2000

10 years after reaching environmentalists around the globe, a new focus on clean energy brought more attention to global warming. This time the internet was used to reach out to even more activists.

April 22, 2020

After engaging 75,000 global partners in the last 20 years, Earth Day commemorated 50 years of fighting for a clean environment with a new goal: get a billion people worldwide to come together to make change happen. Not just with policy, but in our actions as individuals.

In this Friday, April 10, 2020, photo, snowcapped Dhauladhar range of the Himalaya are clearly visible during lockdown to control the spread of the coronavirus in Dharmsala, India. Indias extended lockdown to curb the coronavirus outbreak has shut down schools, workplaces, industries, transport, and forced people to stay home. It also led to an unexpected bonus in the country with six out of 10 of the world's most polluted cities: cleaner air. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

With global emissions expected to spike this year as the world begins to recover from the impacts of COVID-19, Earth Day 2021 is more important than ever. You can watch Earth Day Live starting at noon Thursday where workshops and panel discussions will stream online focusing on the message to Restore Our Earth by showcasing innovative thinking that can restore ecosystems around the world.

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About the Author:

Emmy Award Winning Meteorologist Samara Cokinos joined the News 6 team in September 2017. In her free time, she loves running and being outside.