Earth Day 2020 started as a revolt and urge to start environmental sciences in the Universities of USA by Senator Nelson on 22nd April 1970. Looking at the ongoing threat to Earth’s previously pristine environment, climate change, and extinction of species from delicate ecosystems, all of the above caused by human activities, created amass public awareness about the problem facing us right in the face. This led to the USA has a lot of environmentally conscious acts being passed in the 1970s. On 22nd April 2020, Earth Day celebration (or initiatives) are 50 years old, marking a major milestone in its journey.
Why does Earth Day matter?
Here is why celebrating Earth day matters and makes a difference:
- Earth day protests and demonstrations are a way of expressing to your own governments that the public, YOU, care about environmental balance, and demand progressive, clean and environmentally responsible policies to be made and acts enforcing them to be passed.
- It creates a sense of social awareness in your neighborhood that the problem that worries you is a problem not unique to you but common to all the individuals on Earth.
- It makes the firm picture that people will vote for Science and Environment, and policymakers should consider the major demographic asking for a cleaner and safer future.
- Overpopulation has put under stress all of the resources like water, minerals, food, and land.
- Activities like unregulated fishing, the release of toxins into natural resources by factories, mining, spills, amongst many others has made mass extinction due to pollution a very real possibility.
- Montreal Treaty and the 2015 Paris Agreement have shown that environmentally conscious policies can result in improvement, and there’s still time left to reverse the odds in our favor. But this needs support and above all awareness, which can happen through demonstrations and protests like the ones on Earth Day.
Earth Day 2020, and COVID 19 Lockdown. How to join forces?
This year we are fighting two dangers
- The fight against the novel virus COVID 19 which has become a global pandemic forcing countries to be in quarantine. This is a battle we are fighting by staying inside. This danger has made us realize how prone even we as a species are to the dangers of nature. It also made us realize how delicate is the natural ecosystem. We have realized our effect on Mother Nature as we observe from audience seats how nature is trying to reclaim itself, something to be embraced worldwide.
- The second battle we are fighting is one for the last 50 years, the battle for better policies to save Earth as a habitable planet for one and all. This battle shall still be continued this year, just with a twist of quarantine.
The EarthDay.org official website for the initiative, has planned a series of speeches and demonstrations from people all around the world at the comfort of you home live through their website. They have also suggested ideas like putting up protest posters and slogans in support of Mother Nature on your windows for everyone to see and spread awareness. They also encouraged people to draw and create art in support of the initiative and upload it on various social media using the hashtag #EarthDay2020. We ENCOURAGE you to do your part in fighting for yours, your own loved ones, and our future.
- The main agenda this year is to SAVE Earth
- S- Speak Up about the atrocities of human activities on the environment.
- A- Act and pledge to practice sustainable living and making sure you minimize your carbon footprint and plastic intake. Refuse, Reduce, and Recycle.
- V- Vote for government policies and individuals who support the cause of a healthier and greener future. Encourage at least three of your friends to do so too!
- E- Express your views and opinions on social media and to the public. Every single voice counts.
Astronomy and Earth Day
Astronomy helps carry forward the frontiers of Earth Day to a better base by supporting it with scientific data about the climate, vegetation, mineral distribution on the planet and understand how they are being affected by our activities. This also helps them simulate these conditions and come up with better ways to preserve the environment and develop cleaner methods and practices. Satellites flying high up in space shoot high-definition pictures of our planet, instruments on them studying the atmosphere, temperature, distribution of specific compounds everywhere, provide data for building accurate models. The biggest satellite of all ISS (or the International Space Station) has instruments developed by various nations to do the same, more accurately and effectively, with the help of astronauts aboard. Understanding our climate patterns, vegetation practices also help us predict our influence on them, and improve our methods.
Recently NASA found a depletion of the Ozone layer above the North Pole in the Arctic region (Pictured above; Credits: NASA). The level of Ozone had fallen down to 220 dobson units (normal is 250). This has natural factors behind it, and such sudden depletion has been observed previously too in 1997 and 2011. Though this isn’t a hole compared to the Ozone hole that appears over the Antarctic during September-October every year when the Southern Hemisphere has its spring. The level of the Ozone then and there are 150 dobson units only! But it has been observed that the levels of ozone-depleting compounds in the air like CFCs have declined since the Montreal Treaty, making us optimistic about environmental policies and their effectiveness.
NASA and Earth Day
As one of the major space agencies on the planet, NASA has undertaken to spread awareness about the cause by including some downloadable art posters, coloring posters, and Science At Home kits for free on their website. They have also announced that they are testing airplane designs that will be more sustainable paving way for a cleaner future. You can visit their webpage for Earth Day 2020 click here: Some of these activities are being a part of a webcast from ISS, helping NASA map real coral reefs using your mobile phones, and some fun exploration through youtube videos and interactions. click here