Celebrating Earth Day: Planet vs Plastics

April 22- Earth Day: Planet vs Plastics
Reading Time: 3 minutes

April 22- Earth Day: Planet vs Plastics. Image: Unsplash

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Celebrating Earth Day: Planet vs Plastics

April 22 is Earth Day, a day to celebrate our earth and support environmental protection. Earth Day also reminds us that we all play a part in protecting the planet. Since the first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970, we have seen many environmental movements and the passing of environmental laws and regulations, including the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts and the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Every Earth Day has a theme. EarthDay.org sets up a theme with events and activities that people from all over the world can participate in. In 2023, the Earth Day theme was “Invest in Our Planet”. This was a call for businesses to shift towards sustainable practices. Over 5000 Earth Day events were registered on their website (the most ever recorded), and over 5 million trees were planted through the Canopy Project.

The theme for Earth Day 2024 is “Planet vs Plastics.” It is a call for global populations to commit to ending plastics for the sake of human and planetary health. They are calling for a 60% reduction in the production of all plastics by 2040.

The theme “Planet vs. Plastics” brings awareness of the health risks of plastics for humans, animals, and all biodiversity and urges a rapid phase-out of all single-use plastics, demanding an end to fast fashion and investment in innovative technologies and materials to build a plastic-free world. Earthday.org is calling for a 60% reduction in the production of all plastics by 2040.

Planet vs Plastics certainly seems appropriate. With the amount of single-use plastic entering the waste stream every day and the pushback from industries, it seems Planet vs Plastics is being forced upon is. We need to decide which is more important.

Over 500 billion plastic bags were produced in 2023 and were used for only a few minutes, but their impact on the planet will last many years as they are typically thrown into landfills or make their way into the oceans. One hundred billion plastic beverage containers were sold in 2023 in the United States. Over 95% of the bottles produced won’t get recycled.

Microplastics, which are fragments of plastic, are finding their way into the food we eat, the air we breathe, and even the clothes we wear. Earthday.org has launched a Fashion for the Earth campaign to raise awareness about the plastics in our clothing. They hope their campaign will also create a conversation around sustainable fashion and change the prevailing mindset around shopping.

Within the theme of “Planet vs Plastics”, Earthday.org is pushing for a UN Treaty on plastic pollution. The Global Plastic Treaty is an opportunity for the UN and governmental organizations to help end plastic pollution, protect human health, and lead to a waste-free world.

Make sure to visit EarthDay.org if you are looking for ways to get involved with Earth Day or ways to celebrate the theme “Planet vs Plastics”. They also have posters, toolkits, fact sheets, news, and resources on everything Earth Day. They even have several petitions you can sign to help end plastic production and pollution.

There are many other ways to celebrate Earth Day this year, including:

  • Getting involved at home by divesting from unsustainable investments and businesses, working toward zero waste, and donating to organizations working to protect the planet.
  • Writing letters to local officials and representatives demanding climate action. Write letters to companies requiring sustainable packaging and eco-manufacturing.
  • Joining or hosting an event through EarthDay.org.
  • Cleaning up the plastic in your neighborhood or local park.
  • Planting a tree or native plants and flowers.
  • Committing to one green act per day.

Remember that every day is Earth Day. Every day, we should be taking action towards protecting our planet. Every effort, big or small, counts, and it is never too early or late to start.

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