Monday, April 21, 2008

Happy Birthday, Earth!

Tomorrow, April 22, is Earth Day, the largest and most widely-celebrated international environmental event. We may not have been aware of this day when we were younger less matured, but I tell you this is the most important holiday the world needs to give a lot of attention to.

The History

Earth Day was first celebrated in the United States when Senator Gaylord Nelson proposed a nationwide environmental protest to thrust the environment onto a national agenda. Across the United States, 20 million people and thousands of local schools and communities participated in the first Earth Day, thus making it the largest organized celebration in the history of the United States.

Why we celebrate

This is the place where we live. We share the same planet, therefore we share the same responsibility of taking care of it. We are faced with a lot of environmental challenges that seem so unnoticeable to many. And now it is our duty to think and act ways on how to solve them. Not only on Earth Day that we should participate with the agenda of saving the Earth, but everyday. Because everyday we breath by Earth's air, we eat by its nature's products, and we live and grow by its environment. If we do not act NOW, we might not notice that tomorrow we'll be doomed by a fugly, not-suitable-place-to-live-in Earth caused by its people's carelesness and lack of concern.

Earth Day in different countries

Since Earth day is a global event, countries have their own ways of celebrating it. But often it is celebrated with the ringing of bells - the bells of peace.

In India, they held a Bicycle Rally to promote nonpolluting forms of transportation. They also held an event where people carried slogans and posters with messages about preserving the nature.

In Kenya, Earth Day is celebrated along with the country's National Tree Planting Day. In one of its Earth Day celebrations, guests and schoolchildren planted 1,000 trees in an endangered forest in order to preserve it and keep the environment clean.

China does celebrate Earth Day with themes. One theme was Protection of Geographic Relics and Scientific Development which highlighted the importance of preserving cultural history and artifacts. They also conducted events which focused on sustainable development and use of natural resources not only in their country but around the world.

In Australia, some groups dressed in animal costumes conducted parades where they carried banners in support of protecting one of the country's wilderness. They also held a "car-less" day where streets in Sydney were blocked off to cars that they just conducted street parties filled with music, parties, and educational activities.

The problems to fix

Certain types of pollution have already created a hole in our atmosphere - this causes the ozone layer, the layer that blocks the harmful ultraviolet rays of heat from the sun, to deplete or become thinner each year. When the ozone layer becomes thinner, more and more ultraviolet rays will reach the Earth's surface which will cause a huge harm to animals, plants, and even us people.

The destruction of natural habitats causes the endangerment, or, in severe cases, extinction of species. Conservation of endangered species is therefore an important part of Earth Day. It is really sad that years from now we won't be able to see mighty Philippine eagles anymore, or the wonderful stingrays and turtles of the seas. So think of ways on how we could save them, speak up, and participate!

Small ways, big impact

Everyday is Earth Day. Everyday we should love the place where we live. Everyday we should take care of it and protect it so the next generation, our sons and daughters, will still breathe the same fresh air that we're breathing, will still experience the satisying natural wonders that we make proud of, and will still see the same wonderful world that we live in. These small ways are very helpful in saving the Earth. If you do at least one of this, KUDOS to you!

- Plant trees. They help the air clean and the surroundings beautiful. Remember that trees and plants emit oxygen, the air that we breathe in. So more trees means more oxygen which means better breathing capacity for us.

- Don't litter. Ang kalat ay ibulsa pansamantala says MMDA. Learn to segregate wastes so it would be easy for the garbage collectors to dispose the non-reusable wastes. Pick up the litter on the sidewalk, streets, and on swiming pools - the very same thing our teacher told us to do when we were in gradeschool.

- Walk or ride a bicycle to school, work, or any place you would want to go to. Do this and you will really feel that you helped the Earth.

- Practice the 3Rs - Reduce, Recycle, and Reuse. The fewer the resources we use, the lesser the things that we throw away. Giving old things a new life means less pressure on important resources all of us will need in the near future.

Tomorrow, April 22, is Earth Day. It is OUR day.

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