April: Earth Day Every Day


It’s Leah, the Live Green! Social Media Engagement Intern. I am excited to share with you everything that is happening this month! 

April’s social media campaign, Earth Day Every Day, will offer information and insight on the different aspects of our earth and how we can support it as best as possible. There will also be a campus-wide event on April 18th to honor Iowa State’s many sustainability initiatives, organizations and accomplishments. Stay tuned for more details.

In the 1960’s, Americans started to realize the effects of pollution on our environment. More and more people became aware of threats to the environment, such as automobile emissions, oil spills and industrial waste. Factories were emitting production outputs into our air, lakes and rivers with little oversight and few legal consequences. In 1962 Senator Gaylord Nelson, a Democrat from Wisconsin, was determined to convince the federal government that the planet was at risk. In 1969, the Cuyahoga River fire in Cleveland exemplified the issues with chemical waste disposal. Until then, protecting the planet was not part of the national political agenda. Also in that year, Nelson developed the idea for Earth Day after being inspired by the anti-Vietnam War “teach-ins” that were taking place on college campuses around the United States. In the fall of 1969, he officially announced the Earth Day concept at a Seattle conference and invited the entire nation to get involved.

Earth Day was officially founded in 1970 as a day dedicated to the education of environmental issues. On the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, rallies were held in Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles and most other American cities. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the first Earth Day was effective at raising awareness about environmental issues and transforming public attitudes. 

Along with Earth Day, the 1970s also included a number of important pieces of environmental legislation to be passed. Among them were the Clean Air Act, the Water Quality Improvement Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act

Julian Wasser/ The LIFE Images Collection  / Getty Images
Julian Wasser/ The LIFE Images Collection  / Getty Images

Since that first earth day, you’re probably wondering what has happened since. Significant laws and impressive initiatives have been put into motion to combat air pollution, promote reuse and recycling, and embrace renewable energy sources including solar, wind and geothermal. The diligent work continues. To learn more about Earth Day’s origin and history, check out the “Earth Day 2023” article on history.com. 

While there’s a sense of urgency when it comes to our planet, it’s important to remain proactive and driven toward a sustainable future. With that, I think it’s about time we start talking about some positive initiatives that are happening. Here are 5 positive environmental stories from 2023 so far:

Richard Hardiman came up with the “shark in the water” robot that can collect 21,000 plastic bottles in a day. The idea for the water-cleaning robot came after seeing two men struggle to catch rubbish from their boat in his home city of Cape Town, South Africa. 

Love Island: Hit UK TV show promoted sustainable fashion in the latest series. In 2022, the series ditched its fast fashion image by partnering with eBay – the first ever pre-loved fashion partnership on a TV show. Clothing from eBay’s online second hand marketplace was worn by contestants as they descended on an exotic location to find love.

The United States got a record-breaking 40% of its energy from carbon-free sources in 2022. The figure combines renewable generation – such as solar, wind and hydro – and nuclear power.

If current policies remain in place from the 1987 Montreal Protocol, the ozone layer is on track to recover within decades, UN reports. A UN-backed panel of experts presented at the American Meteorological Society’s annual meeting, and said the ozone would heal by around 2066 over the Antarctic, by 2045 over the Arctic, and by 2040 for the rest of the world.

Bees could be ensured safe flight around Europe via ‘buzz lines’. Creating a network of ecological corridors is one of a number of measures in the European Commission’s ‘New Deal for Pollinators’. The deal aims to do that by targeting their key adversaries: pesticides, pollution, invasive alien species, changing land use and climate change.

To learn more about positive stories and initiatives happening around the world, be sure to check out “Here are all the positive environmental stories from 2023 so far” on euronews.com. 

In honor of Earth Month, I want to make sure you have all the resources necessary to celebrate accordingly. The Office of Sustainability has compiled a number of opportunities to be sustainably engaged in the Ames community and beyond, during the entire month of April. These opportunities cover the three facets of sustainability – environmental, economic and social – and offer something for everyone toward embracing Earth Day, every day. To see the complete list of these opportunities, check out the 2023 Earth Month Calendar of Events on the Live Green! website.

And!! Save the Date!! Join us on the South Library Lawn, April 18th from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. to celebrate Earth Day!! The event features interactive tabling displays from sustainability-focused student, campus, and community organizations, refreshments and bike tune-ups, as well as the opportunity to earn some unique and sustainable prizes. For more information about the event, be sure to check out the Facebook event page.

For more information on international Earth Day celebrations and events, visit the EarthDay.org website.

As the year moves forward, please consider the Live Green! Leadership Team as your  sustainable resource for connection to information, events and opportunities to get involved with sustainability on campus, and also throughout the community. Stay tuned for a month of tips, resources, connections and “did you know” stories and posts on our social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest, as we round out this month’s campaign. 

Happy Earth Month! See you on the 18th.


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