When is Earth Day 2022? What is it, how to get involved and what is this year’s theme to tackle climate change

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The global event is a day to bring people together to take action in the fight against climate change

Earth Day is an annual event that gives people around the world the opportunity to focus on the planet and the many challenges it faces - from plastic pollution to the climate crisis.

The day marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement.

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This year marks the event’s 52nd year, as the movement began back in 1970 and rapidly gained momentum.

Let’s take a look at what it is all about, its history and this year’s theme.

When is Earth Day?

Earth Day falls on 22 April every year.

Celebrations have stretched out over the entire week in recent years, and some even last the entire month of April.

EarthDay.org lists a variety of both in-person and online events that will be taking place across the month.

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What is it about?

Earth Day is a global annual event intended to encourage discussions and action on environmental causes.

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Today it is widely recognised as the largest secular observance in the world, marked by more than a billion people every year.

It is a day of action to create both global and political change and impact human behaviour.

This year, Earth Day follows the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report which stated that without further immediate action to curb greenhouse gas emissions, the world is on course for temperatures 3.2°C above pre-industrial levels.

It stated there is little time to reverse the damage.

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This means the global event will have even more urgency to fight for a cleaner environment and create more awareness of the importance of fighting against climate change.

What is this year’s theme?

This year’s theme is “Invest In Our Planet”, encouraging individuals, businesses and governments to invest in technologies and practices that can benefit the earth.

Through regulations, incentives and public or private partnerships, governments hold the keys to transform and build the green economy.

Organisers are calling on governments to incentivise their citizens, businesses, and institutions to build a resilient future.

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The global event calls on everyone to tell your government leaders to launch a sustainability revolution today.

The history of Earth Day

In the decades leading up to the first Earth Day, the world was largely oblivious to environmental concerns and how a polluted environment threatens human health.

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However, Rachel Carson’s New York Times bestseller, Silent Spring, in 1962, represented a watershed moment, raising public awareness on the links between pollution and public health.

It sold more than 500,000 copies in 24 countries.

Following this in January 1969, Senator Gaylord Nelson, a junior senator from Wisconsin, and many others witnessed the ravages of a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California.

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Inspired by the student anti-war movement, Senator Nelson wanted to infuse this energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution.

Senator Nelson announced the idea for a teach-in on college campuses to the national media, and persuaded Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman, to serve as his co-chair.

They recruited Denis Hayes, a young activist, to organise the campus teach-ins, choosing 22 April as the date - a weekday falling between Spring Break and Final Exams, to maximise the greatest student participation.

They changed the name to Earth Day, which immediately sparked national media attention, and caught on across the country.

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Millions of people took to the streets of US cities and towns on 22 April 1970 in mass protests over the damage being done to the planet and its resources.

Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, and by the end of 1970, the first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

It also led to the passage of other first of their kind environmental laws, including the National Environmental Education Act.

Two years later Congress passed the Clean Water Act.

As 1990 approached, a group of environmental leaders approached Denis Hayes to once again organise another major campaign for the planet.

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This time, Earth Day went global, mobilising 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage.

As the millennium approached, Hayes agreed to spearhead another campaign, this time focused on global warming and a push for clean energy.

With 5,000 environmental groups in a record 184 countries reaching out to hundreds of millions of people, Earth Day 2000 built both global and local conversations, leveraging the power of the Internet to organise activists around the world.

Earth Day 2000 set the tone for its future events - citizens around the world wanting quick and decisive action on global warming and clean energy.

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