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Thinking about our planet: Earth Day 2019

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“Protecting Our Species” is the theme for Earth Day 2019, which is April 22. This year, the Earth Day Network is raising awareness on how human behavior affects the plants, wildlife and insects that comprise the ecosystem. 

The goals of this year’s campaign are building a global movement that embraces nature and its values, encouraging individual actions such as adopting a plant-based diet and eliminating pesticide use and raising awareness about the rate of extinction of millions of species. 

“It’s very important to be educated on the Earth as you can’t fix your habits if you don’t know there’s anything wrong with them,” said Elizabeth Crosby, a biology major at Ball State University. “I think Earth Day is a great way to raise awareness, the same way we use racial history months to raise awareness on social issues and celebrate culture.”

Changing behavior is as simple as educating yourself on how to sort food waste and trash and how to buy products that create less waste. A small change could be ditching plastic straws in favor of resuable straws — or no straw at all.

An annual worldwide event, Earth Day brings attention to how humans treat the planet and what actions can be taken to slow down or halt the damage already done — and prevent further damage from occuring. The day became official in July 1970 when President Richard Nixon declared April 22 as Earth Day. The day is significant because millions of people protested the 150 years of industrial development that caused fires in rivers, deformities in children, lead poisoning and pesticide use on April 22, 1970.

About one billion people in 192 countries participate in Earth Day each year by signing petitions, planting trees and cleaning up neighborhoods. 

Kathleen Rogers, president of Earth Day Network, said talking to community leaders is an important way to affect change. 

“We really recommend that everybody talk to their candidates, whether it’s a school board or your mayor, talk to them about what their environmental position is,” Rogers said. “Because climate change is here, and believe it or not human beings are causing it.”

People can participate in Earth Day by finding an event in their community, creating their own event on the Earth Day website, or working with faith-based groups or schools that are participating.

“I think the most important way to participate is to create an event yourself,” Rogers said. “That could be with your friends or family. Through Meetups or Facebook, people are doing Earth Day events large scale and small scale.”

Earth Day 2019

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