By: Isabela Claret Torres, MSc, Ph.D.
On April 22 we celebrate Earth Day! A day that we demonstrate our support to environmental protection. It is the day that we show our discontent in how planet earth is being treated by humans. It is the day that we acknowledge that this is our planet, our home and it has been mistreated enough and for too long.
History of Earth Day
The first Earth Day was on April 22, 1970. It was created by USA Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin, after witnessing the damage of an Oil Spill in Santa Barbara California in 1969 in which many seabirds and ocean animals died. The day was chosen to fall between spring break and the final exams in USA. Twenty million Americans demonstrated in different U.S. cities.
But the environmental movement in USA has began much before 1970 and its mark is the publication of the book “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson. The book addressed the adverse environmental effects caused by the indiscriminate use of pesticides, especially DDT which was very popular at that time. It was a book that denounce the chemical industry for lying to American citizens and the acceptance of the public officials of the industry propaganda. It was the first important environmental book and was published in 24 countries and sold 500 thousand copies.
All these movements were important for the environmental protection in USA as due to them in In December 1970, Congress authorized the creation of a new federal agency to tackle environmental issues, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US-EPA).
A Global Movement
In 1990, Earth Day became a global movement. Environmental Activists manage to mobilize 200 million of people in 141 countries, taking the environmental problems to be in the headlines all over the world. This movement ended in the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Senator Nelson was granted the Presidential Medal of Freedom (a great honor given to civilians in USA) for its role as an Earth Day founder, by President Bill Clinton.
On Earth Day 2016, the Paris Agreement, an important landmark for environmental protection was signed 123 countries. In its 50th anniversary, On Earth Day 2020, over 100 million people around the world participated in the movement in what is being referred to as the largest online mass mobilization in history.
1. Over 420 million hectares of forest have been lost since 1990.
2. 1 million of the estimated 8 million plant and animal species on the planet are at risk of extinction, many within decades, because of human activities.
3. Wildlife has reduced by 68% from 1970 to 2016.
4. Every year, we extract an estimated 55 billion tons of fossil energy, minerals, metals and biomass from the Earth.
5. The world has already lost 80% of its forests and we’re continually losing them at a rate of 375 km2 per day.
6. Every hour, 1,692 acres of productive dry land becomes desert.
7. 27% of our coral reefs have been destroyed. If the rate continues, remaining 60% will be gone in 30 years.
8. We have a garbage island floating in our ocean, mostly comprised of plastics – the size of India, Europe and Mexico combined!
9. We are using up 50% more natural resources than the Earth can provide. At our current population, we need 1.5 Earths.
10. 80 percent of the world’s wastewater is dumped—largely untreated—back into the environment, polluting rivers, lakes, and oceans.
11. Air pollution is attributed to 11.65% of deaths globally.
12. The production of municipal waste is around 2,01 Billion tons, which 33% of that is not manage properly and end up in the environment.
Earth Day 2022
On the 52nd anniversary of Earth Day this year the topic chosen is invest in the Planet. According to Earthday.org, the main concern for this 2022 earth day is global warming and the necessity that we reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by mid century to keep the global temperatures below 1.5°C. And they invite us all to learn how nature-based solutions can help us deliver a third of the greenhouse gas reductions needed by 2030 to meet the Paris Agreement.
And that is what Xeero.io does, it invests in our planet. we want to help the environment; we want to invest on solutions to reduce the human footprint in our planet. Our main platform is a marketplace for carbon offsets. Helping to put together carbon credit producers and buyers is investing on a new solution to help in the fight against global warming. That is our main goal, to invest on our planet, invest on solutions to the problems that we created, to invest on a better life for us all. We believe we can make a difference! It is time to change, and its time to act!
So let’s celebrate Earth Day! Let’s celebrate everyday!
About the Author:
Isabela started her work with the environment in 1993 as a Biology Bachelor student at the highly regarded Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG/Brazil). Later she joined the Graduate Program on Ecology, Conservation and Management of the Wildlife of the same University (UFMG/Brazil) where she received her Masters degree in 1999. Later, she received her Ph.D. on Soil and Water Science at the University of Florida (USA). During her Ph.D. studies she received an Outstanding Student Poster Award at the ASLO (American Society of Limnology and Oceanography) 2006 Summer Meeting held in Victoria (Canada). After working for the State Government Secretary, consulting environmental company and watershed management company she began her post-doctorate in the Geography Department at UFMG (Brazil). Throughout her career she gathered knowledge and specialized on Biology, Ecology, Soil Science, Limnology, Paleolimnology, Biogeochemistry, Organic Geochemistry, Metal and Environmental pollution.