Earth Day is upon us but what is that annual event all about and why do we celebrate it?

The first Earth Day was marked over 50 years ago, inspiring an environmental movement that has grown into over 1 billion activists from over 190 countries. 

Following the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 'now or never' warning to act on climate change earlier this month, it appears that marking Earth Day in a meaningful way is more important than ever. 

Here's everything you need to know about Earth Day, why we celebrate it and how you can get involved. 

HeraldScotland: A person standing in a green countryside landscape. Credit: CanvaA person standing in a green countryside landscape. Credit: Canva

When is Earth Day 2022?

Earth Day is held every year on the same date - April 22. 

It marks the anniversary of what we understand as the birth of the modern environmental movement.

Why do we celebrate Earth Day?

Concern for the environment, the increasing air pollution and its link to human health were around before 1970.

However, it took something shocking to bring about the first Earth Day and its catalyst was a large oil spill in Santa Barbara in California, in January 1969. 

In the year that followed, a junior senator from Wisconsin called Gaylord Nelson announced an idea of a teach-in on college campuses to the national media. 

The Senator wanted to inspire the same energy of the student-led anti-war movement to the environmental cause.

Bringing in a young activist and Republican congressman, they chose April 22 - a date between Spring Break and exams - for their teach-ins.

The movement wanted to inspire as many students to get involved as possible and now, over 50 years later, it estimates that it has over 1 billion individuals involved every year.

We celebrate Earth Day to mark the beginning of this incredibly important movement, to remind ourselves of how precious this planet is and to keep us fighting to protect it.

How to get involved in Earth Day 2022

There are endless ways for you to get involved in Earth Day this year. 

Here are just a few suggestions to inspire some meaningful action:

  • Attend and participate in an Earth Day event on earthday.org. With events taking place all over the world, you can plant a forest in their canopy project, join or organise your own clean up and so much more
  • Become an earthday.org member and download an Earth Day tool kit
  • Make a lifestyle change: become vegan, vegetarian and buy local and seasonal produce (don't worry if you need to take it one step at a time!)
  • Take some individual action (get creative with Earth Day window signs, take one of their quizzes and share resources on social media

For more inspiration and ideas, visit the Earth Day website.