This Sunday marks the 48th annual Earth Day, the holiday that aims to “broaden, diversify, and mobilize the environmental movement worldwide to protect the Earth for future generations.”
Established in 1970, Earth Day‘s first celebration was a massive hit that took place across the entire U.S., with events held at thousands of schools, universities, and communities. It’s since grown to be one of the largest and most influential holidays observed around the world.
Today, over 192 countries recognize Earth Day, and the holiday that began with 20 million people in 1970 has since grown to include over 200 million people. It’s a day meant to encourage people to reflect on their environmental footprint, as well as their community’s, and thus inspire the masses to implement and take part in eco-friendly practices.
Alongside its non-profit organization, the Earth Day Network, Earth Day has influenced some of the biggest environmental changes in the U.S., like the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Clean Water Act. With all this success, it’s clear that Earth Day isn’t going anywhere. If anything, it’s experiencing a continual rise. The organization is already gearing up for a monumental celebration in 2020 to honor its 50th anniversary.
Washington state, a central part of the Pacific Northwest, is a major supporter of the holiday. With over 100 state parks, three national parks, active volcanoes, a rainforest, over 63 mountain ranges, the Salish Sea, and the Pacific coastline, eco-activism plays an essential role in the state’s preservation.
One look at those popular comedic Northwest Pemco Insurance commercials can tell anyone that protecting the planet is one of Washington’s main priorities. In 2007, Washington became the first state to target all forms of highly toxic PBDEs for elimination from common household products. And in 2014, Seattle signed a law requiring all residents to compost all food scraps to reduce the amount of toxic waste.
Washington state prides itself on its distinct landscape. More importantly, it prides itself on its environmental and sustainability efforts to help maintain its distinct landscape. This Sunday, April 22, a number of Earth Day events and activities will take place all over the state.
The most exciting activity may be the widely praised State Park Free Day. That’s right, all those parks that require a $10 Discover Pass are free on April 22. This is the perfect opportunity to hit up a park or hike that’s been on the list for ages but isn’t yet crossed off. This may mean that the parks are a little more crowded than usual, not to mention the fact that it’s also a Sunday in Spring, but what better way to enjoy Washington’s land than hiking with the community?
For something a little closer to home, a number of cities like Port Townsend and Seattle are taking part in a major clean-up of their neighborhoods and beaches. This means doing everything from picking up trash along the shores to weeding and replanting sidewalk flower beds. Call or check out your local Parks and Recreation website to find out more about these local clean-ups.
Looking for a mix of education and outdoor recreation? On Sunday in Sedro-Wooley, the Skagit Land Trust is guiding a public tour of their conservation projects. From walks through completed projects to interactive lectures on the local wildlife and land, the Skagit Land Trust is sure to be a highlight of the state’s Earth Day celebrations.
Washingtonian’s don’t have head outdoors to participate in Earth Day either. On Sunday, the Snohomish County Marine Resources Committee will host a free screening of the Netflix documentary, Chasing Coral, a film that investigates the cause of the Earth’s disappearing coral reef, at the University of Washington Bothell. With so much to do, there’s no reason to not take part in this year’s Earth Day.