Earth Day 2011


Earth Day 2011 falls on April 22. Some cities start celebrating a week in advance, ending the recognition of Earth Week on that day. Others host month long events to stress the importance of teaching about our environment.

The Equinox Earth Day, or Equinoctial Earth Day, is the first Earth Day of the year and is celebrated by the United Nations on March 20. The UN celebrates the progress made by mankind in the preservation of the planet and plan out better strategies for the betterment of the climate. In 2009, the United Nations designated April 22 International Mother Earth Day.

Earth Day began on April 22, 1970 and thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. It is a day to reflect on our planet, our environment and what we can do to help keep them healthy. On March 21, 1970, the Mayor of San Francisco issued the first Earth Day proclamation. An estimated twenty million Americans took part in the first Earth Day.

In just the first 6 years of the first earth day in 1970, accomplishments in the United States included:

The Environmental Protection Agency was established in 1970. The EPA consolidated in one agency a variety of federal research, monitoring, standard-setting and enforcement activities to ensure environmental protection. EPA’s mission is to protect human health and to safeguard the natural environment—air, water, and land.

The Clean Water Act (CWA), the cornerstone of surface water quality protection in the United States, became law in 1972. It has provided more than 62% of the United States with cleaner water. It has enabled millions of people to fish, swim and  drink out of waters due to a reduction in pollutants.

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973 protects plants and animals that are listed by the federal government as “endangered” or “threatened.”  The ESA requires balancing species protection and people’s economic needs. The Act has been nearly 100 percent successful in saving species from extinction.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 created the labor department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Among other things, it establish maximum levels of exposure to lead, asbestos, chemicals, and other toxic substances in the workplace. In doing so, it reduced in-plant pollution.

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), enacted in 1976, gives the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to control hazardous waste from the “cradle-to-grave.” This includes the generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste.

Earth Day is now observed in 175 countries and coordinated by the nonprofit Earth Day Network.

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