As the climate crisis becomes ever more serious, each Earth Day that comes along takes on extra significance. Established in 1970, the annual event brings together millions of people from around the world in support of the environment, highlighting the urgent action we need to take to save our planet.
Earth Day 2022 comes after a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published in August 2021 was described as a “code red for humanity”, with scientists warning that temperatures are set to rise beyond 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels this century (a scenario that would have catastrophic effects worldwide). Meanwhile, there was huge disappointment around the agreement signed at Cop26 in November 2021, showing the magnitude of the challenge we face.
“The origins and history of Earth Day [were] about motivating people to motivate their governments to take action,” Kathleen Rogers, president of Earthday.org, told Vogue. “Fast forward to 2022 and we have a climate agreement that’s not doing its job and governments back-pedalling on their climate commitments. [Earth Day] is our opportunity to once again put pressure on governments to do something about climate.”
Want to ensure that you play your part this Earth Day? Here’s everything you need to know.
When is Earth Day 2022?
Earth Day takes place on 22 April every year but expect the entire month – and especially the week running up to Earth Day (sometimes called Earth Week) – to be a time when environmental issues take centre stage.
What is Earth Day about?
Marked by millions around the world, Earth Day is an annual event designed to shine a light on the serious environmental problems we’re facing, from the climate crisis to air pollution and deforestation.
When was the first Earth Day?
The original Earth Day was founded by US senator and environmentalist Gaylord Nelson in 1970 to highlight the importance of clean air and clean water, following a 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. The event saw an astonishing 20 million people across the US taking to the streets – around 10 per cent of the country’s population at the time.
Earth Day became an international campaign in 1990, when environmental activists asked one of the original organisers, Denis Hayes, to help create another event to spotlight the ecological challenges facing our planet.
What is this year’s theme?
The theme for Earth Day 2022 is Invest In Our Planet – a call for governments, businesses and individuals to invest in a better future for the planet. “Governments can pass regulations, they can promote [a] green economy. We need to invest in innovators and innovation, but we need to do it the right way,” Rogers says. “[For] individuals it’s about investing your personal time, your political vote, investing in your community, investing your money into going green.”
How can you take part in Earth Day?
Earth Day organisers have suggested a number of ways to get involved via its handy toolkit, including supporting its campaigns for a global plastics treaty, for change in the fashion industry and to stop deforestation. There are also thousands of events taking place around the world – find out what’s happening near you via this map, from tree-planting to clean-up activities. If there’s nothing currently happening in your area, why not organise your own event?
What else can you do to help the planet?
Of course, at Vogue we believe that every day should be Earth Day, so it’s vital that we continue to take action throughout the whole year. If you want to find out more about the challenges we’re facing, here are the books to read, the documentaries to watch and the activists to follow.
Beyond that, here are some other ways you can live more sustainably, including being more conscious about what you buy, switching to renewable energy, flying less and eating less meat, fish and dairy. You can also join a local campaign group, write to your politicians and donate to environmental charities such as Greenpeace, 350.org and Rainforest Alliance.
This article was originally published on Vogue UK.