On Earth Day, we celebrate our planet and re-dedicate ourselves to taking care of it. It is a wonderful time to remind ourselves of the fragility of our planet and the need for us to be mindful of how we treat her. Earth Day was established in 1970 by U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson after he visited an oil spill in Santa Barbara, Calif. in 1969. It is celebrated every year on April 22.
More than 1 billion people celebrate Earth Day every year, by planting new trees, cleaning up beaches and parks, and holding rallies. The idea is to raise awareness of our environment and the peril it is facing with climate change and a species that has a penchant for creating an enormous amount of waste and leaving behind as large a footprint as possible.
Earth Day also honours the achievements of the environmental movement and raises awareness of the need to protect the Earth for our sake and the sake of our children and their children. While it is great to have a special day to celebrate our planet and pledge to take better care of her, this is something that we all should be doing every day. Taking care of our home should not be something that is optional. It should not be something that we only do when we feel like it. Practising good environmental habits should be among our top priorities of everyday life.
Now is the time to make preserving our home, Planet Earth, a top priority. This should not be a political issue at all. No one can argue that it is not a good idea to take care of your own home. There are many ways we can help preserve our planet. We can recycle, we can cut down on fossil fuel use, we can compost and we can conserve energy to name a few. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions can be done as we saw during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Because of pandemic-driven lockdowns, people were forced to stay home and not travel.
As a result of this dramatic drop off in travel and economic activity, according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO)'s Air Quality and Climate Bulletin, South East Asia saw a 40 percent reduction in the level of harmful airborne particles caused by traffic and energy production in 2020. The US Environmental Protection Agency found that overall net emissions decreased 10.6 percent from 2019 to 2020, decreasing even further by 21.4 percent when compared to 2005 levels. Similar results were reported in other countries as well.
That should be proof enough that we do have the power to make a difference if we change our habits. So let's celebrate Earth Day renewing our pledge to our planet, and let's remember that any action to help keep our home clean and lively is appreciated. It is the only home we've got, so let's do our part to take care of it.
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