This weekend, people across the US and around the world will celebrate the 42nd annual Earth Day. After four decades, the event that started with 20 million Americans has blossomed into a day of service and celebration for nearly a billion people in every part of the planet. Every year I’m reminded that at the heart of Earth Day there is a simple goal: Help every person see the connections between our lives and the health of our environment.
The first Earth Day was organized as a series of teach-ins to start a discussion about the pollution in our communities, and those small beginnings sparked major changes: the creation of the US Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, which turns 40 this year.
Bringing people together around these issues continues to be essential, and we have been working to expand the conversation on environmentalism to new places. We want mothers and fathers to know how important clean air is to their health and the health of their children. We want African Americans and Latinos to join the conversation about environmental challenges in their communities, so we can address disparities in asthma, cancer and other illnesses, and work for environmental justice. We want you – wherever you live – to start your own conversation about protecting health and the environment.
Fortunately, this Earth Day we have more ways to connect, discuss and act than ever before.
- Use our map to find Earth Day events near you – I’m planning to be on the National Mall meeting the young people who submitted cutting-edge projects to EPA’s People, Prosperity and the Planet Student Design Competition.
- While you’re out and about on Earth Day, snap a picture and submit it to our Environment in a Day 24-hour photo collection.
- Take EPA’s Greenquest quiz. Post your score on the wall and you may get a chance to share your story as a guest blogger for EPA.
- Be a part of the Six Words for the Planet micro-essay project.
- Watch the Look Beneath the Surface Earth Day video, then be a part of our EPA Conversations. You can share your ideas for protecting the environment, and vote on others.
We’re counting on you to tell your friends and family, your local officials, and your entire world about protecting our health and preserving our planet. I hope you’ll lend your voice to these important issues, Earth Day and every day.
About the author: Lisa Jackson is the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.