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Winning article for the week ending 10 April

World Earth Day

Many of us are aware that our planet is in danger. With constant reminders from the news and different online websites we believe that humans have had an enormous amount of impact on the planet we call our home. With current information on rising sea levels and an increase in global temperatures we are now forced to believe that we have been the cause behind it. So why not take a day to realise and educate ourselves about planet Earth? 

World Earth Day takes place on the 22nd April. Earth Day marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. However, this year is very special as we prepare to mark  the 50 year anniversary of Earth Day in 2020. Earth Day in 1970 had given a voice to the public about the state of our planet.

In the year leading up to the first Earth Day, Americans were consuming huge amounts of gas through inefficient means of transport. Industries allowed massive amount of smoke to drift into the air meaning that as humans, we would intake it when breathing. Air pollution was commonly accepted as it could possibly lead to more money for the country. Until this point, most of America were shielded from the truths behind the impacts of their industrial growth as well as the health concerns that are followed by this problem. Earth Day 1970 would come to provide a voice for the general public. This would lead to many campaigns and protests to find a solution. 

Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson came up with the idea for a national day to focus on the environment after Nelson had witnessed the effect of a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, Senator Nelson realised that if he could use the energy of anti-war protests with the ever-growing awareness of the local people about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda.  April 22, falling between Spring Break and Final Exams in America was selected as the date for Earth Day. On April 22 1970, 20 million Americans at the time, 10% of the total population of the US, took to the streets of the city to demonstrate for a healthy and sustainable environment. Thousands of colleges and universities also organised protests to support the cause. By the end of 1970, the first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. 

As 1990 approached, a group of environmental leaders had gone to Denis Hayes (environmental advocate) to organise another major campaign for the planet. This time, Earth Day went global, mobilising 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. 

This day has provided a voice to so many people who constantly want a change to the environmental crisis. With so much realisation towards environmental problems everyone is searching for the answer to the question. So why not spread the word and take part in World Earth Day, whether you decided to take part in one of their challenges, or you just decide to educate yourselves on something new, everyone will have made a contribution.  

Article written by Nithma Liyanage. Click here to read it on our online newspapers.

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