This year Earth Day is Sunday April 22nd. And, unlike National Jelly Bean Day which is also celebrated on April 22nd, the creation and celebration of Earth Day has permanently changed our way of life for the better.
I hadn’t quite realized, before writing this article, the history, importance, and impact behind the creation of Earth Day. Before Earth Day, there were no regulations in place to protect the environment. It was perfectly legal to pollute the air with factory fumes, spill toxic waste into waterways, and to pour on the pesticides. There were no penalties, and no fines for doing so.
Initiated back in 1970, the idea behind Earth Day came from then Wisconsin U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson. Nelson was moved to action after witnessing the devastating damage caused by the colossal 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. And inspired by the energy and the incredible impact of the anti-Vietnam War movement at the time, the senator decided to bring environmental issues to the forefront of the mainstream by galvanizing his own movement. And so, on April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans across the country rallied in the streets to protest against the destruction of the environment and call attention to toxic waste, factory pollutants, oil spills, and vanishing wilderness and wildlife.
This massive demonstration led to monumental change. By the end of 1970, both Republicans and Democrats in Congress crossed party lines to establish the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act.
While these changes in policy were significant, the environment still needs protecting. And until Elon Musk figures out a way to shoot all of us into orbit living in comfy space apartments, we only have this one planet to sustain us.
So what is your environmental footprint?
Whether or not you’re open to changing your ways, it’s quite eye-opening to see how our lifestyles impact the Earth. The three quizzes below will show you your ecological footprint, your water consumption, and your plastic consumption. I definitely cringed after taking the quizzes myself as, unfortunately, I hate to admit that my environmental footprint was less than stellar.
This quiz is great at breaking down and showing exactly how you use energy and the planet’s resources. You’ll discover how many ‘Earths’ you would need to sustain your current lifestyle and how you compare to the average American who uses the resources of five earths to maintain their style of life.
This will calculate your water footprint showing how many gallons of water a day you use directly, like showering and washing dishes, and indirectly, for instance the amount it takes to make your clothing and grow food. See if you can beat the average American that uses 2,220 gallons a day.
Find out how much plastic you use each year. Ending plastic pollution is this year’s focus for Earth Day.
Hopefully your environmental footprint turned out much better than mine. But either way, go grab a handful of jelly beans this April 22nd to celebrate both National Jelly Bean Day and Earth Day. Or, on second thought maybe I’ll actually cut back on my jelly bean consumption as they probably take quite a few natural resources to make.
Be sure to check out the Earth Day website for more resources if you’d like to reduce your environmental footprint.