Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day
April 22nd, 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day – a day that began with 20 million people taking to the streets to demand the long term health of our planet. Since 1970, people from across the world and all walks of life have protested air and water pollution and called for climate action through public demonstrations, community projects, and teach-ins.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has changed how we observe Earth Day, it has not changed our collective imperative to take bold climate action that prioritizes environmental justice. The climate crisis, much like the coronavirus, has inflicted disproportionate harm on lower-income communities and communities of color. Industrial polluters burden these communities with higher rates of toxic chemicals that contribute to climate change and increase vulnerability to complications from COVID-19.
Lower-income communities and communities of color have long borne the brunt of environmental injustices while still leading the way in taking action for their communities’ health. In this moment, we must all recognize that environmental justice will not just happen – it must be demanded.
This Earth Day, are you ready to speak up for an equitable climate future and healthy planet for generations to come? Here are three ways you can make a difference:
1. Write a comment for bold climate action in Colorado:
Although Colorado has taken big steps to address the climate crisis, our state is less than halfway to meeting the science-based goals set out in the Climate Action Plan. Now is the time to chart a course for a healthy climate future, positioning Colorado as a leader in protecting our communities. Get the facts from this video, then submit a comment to Colorado’s air quality regulators to urge them to pass bold, equitable climate policies.
2. Speak up to the EPA to defend our air quality:
Even as our health is threatened by a respiratory pandemic, the Trump administration chose to retain existing national air quality standards and relax environmental protections. Air pollution affects every person in Colorado, but especially communities of color and lower-income communities. It’s up to everyone who is able to contact the EPA and urge them to protect air quality through the coronavirus pandemic, not the deep pockets of corporate polluters.
3. Spend time outside in your neighborhood:
Speaking up to Colorado’s air quality commissioners, national regulatory agencies like the EPA, or local elected officials is an impactful and meaningful way to make your voice heard. But, building a movement of respect and appreciation for the environment can start with your neighborhood. Whether it’s hearing birds chirp, seeing flowers bloom, or learning about plants that grow near you, even short breaks in green spaces can offer mental and physical health benefits. By getting outside nearby, you eliminate additional carbon emissions from driving to a remote location, and you protect rural communities from potential exposure to coronavirus. Follow us on Facebook for future opportunities to share how you’re spending time in nearby nature!
By joining forces on Earth Day to take action for the environment and health of our communities, we are able to make a powerful statement. But, work to secure a future with clean air, clean water, and open spaces for all to enjoy is ongoing. To stay involved, please check back on our Online Action Center for up-to-date information on how you can make a positive impact on Colorado’s climate, open spaces, air, water, and communities.