In the late 1960s, a side effect of industrial development called smog was becoming an enormous problem. Children were stricken with developmental delays due to the amount of smog they were breathing and biodiversity was declining as a result of using pesticides and pollutants. On April 22, 1970, protests and rallies were held to raise attention for the need for greater environmental awareness. We now celebrate Earth Day every April 22 “to bring attention to the need to protect planet Earth and to take part in activities that do so”.1
Earth Day 2018
This years’ Earth Day will focus on ending plastic pollution. It will be dedicated to providing the information and inspiration needed to fundamentally change human attitude and behavior toward plastics. One of the goals is to provide “support for a global effort to eliminate single-use plastics along with global regulation for the disposal of plastics”. 1
Be Good to Mother Earth and She Will Be Good to You
Overconsumption is leading to a huge problem. Non-biodegradable or slow to decompose waste can stay in landfills for hundreds of years and can lead to gas emissions being released into the environment. This, as well as uncollected litter, can pollute the air, the surrounding soil and waterways. By recycling one ton of office paper, you can save 17 trees, 7,000 gallons of water, 463 gallons of oil, and 3 cubic yards of landfill space. By recycling the same amount of plastic and steel, you can save over 18 barrels of oil and 4 cubic yards of landfill. 3
Forty percent of the world’s timber is used to make paper and many forests are being destroyed, due to road construction and the formation of temporary settlements. Residents of these settlements often illegally hunt for sustenance. 3
Many people believe incinerating is the answer, but it is not! It pollutes the air and the water. Polluting the air leads to further depletion of Earth’s ozone layer, allowing larger concentrations of ultraviolet rays which can lead to skin cancer and can also harm creatures. 3
Pollution and the depletion of the ozone layer both contribute to the warming of the oceans which, in turn, directly affects the lives of marine animals and their beautiful, delicate ecosystem. 3
Simple Ways You Can Make ‘Earth Day: The ISF Way’ Every Day!
There are a ton of simple ways you can help preserve planet Earth this Earth Day (and every day after)! Since this years’ Earth Day is focusing on plastic pollution, why not start there?
- If you live close to an ocean, lake, or waterway, spend the day having a beach cleanup. Last summer ISF sponsored a beach cleanup in Chicago and this year we sponsored a Coast2Coast Spring Break cleanup! Even if you aren’t participating in a cleanup, make sure you are responsible when you leave and take your trash with you!
- Reduce your energy consumption-turn out the lights, take the stairs, and set your thermostats to eco-friendly temperatures!
- Reduce your plastic!! Buy reusable bags, water bottles and straws. The possibilities to limit your plastic usage are endless!
- Find out if your town, employer or school have a recycling program and actively participate. If they don’t, find out if you can start one!4 There are lots of ways you can get young children involved too. Show them at their young age how important it is to protect and preserve Planet Earth!
- Buy a few reusable tote bags such as ISF's bag made out of recycled plastic bottles. Explain to your children why you use them and have them help you decorate them! You can do the same thing with reusable water bottles too!
- Search the house for objects to use together for a nice arts and crafts project, which shows children the value in reusing things.
- Take your children for a walk around the neighborhood or a forest trail and pick up any garbage and recyclables you find, (don't forget your reusable plastic gloves!) Show them how to dispose of them properly when you get home.
- Since it’s Spring and the weather is getting nicer, take them to the store and let them pick out a few organic flowers and vegetables seeds they like and start working on an outdoor garden. 5
- Plan a nice family dinner outside with the beautiful backdrop of nature and without the distraction of electronics!
Written By: Amanda Kaminski
Edited By: Bob Stone