Earth Day: A Holiday of Protest and Protection

Expansively damp forests, mysterious deserts, babbling brooks, endless skies of rose and clementine, animals and plants cohabiting the same area, and mountains that seemingly pierce clouds…what do these all have in common? Well, dear readers, our very own Mother Earth is one of the only celestial bodies in the known universe capable of housing all of these uniquely delicate and mesmerizing natural forces. Represented throughout history in the form of gods such as Gaia or Geb and seen as a healing source to all humanity as medicine progressed, the Earth is an ever-loving force for all of us…so why do we treat her with such disregard? As technology and production skyrockets in efficiency, the Earth suffers and, in turn, so do we. This, my friends, leads into the exact purpose of Earth Day (celebrated globally on April 22nd) as a day for us to admire our planet’s beauty, admonish the sources of dangerous pollution of all types, and advance necessary protections.

Senator Nelson and His Army of College Students

The origins of Earth Day date back to the United States in 1970. With the swift social protest of the Vietnam war ushering in a new, hippie movement, Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Wilson was quick to act upon his environmental visions. He was in awe that no government pressure was being put upon massive oil spills, deforestation, deadly smog, and pesticides, so he decided to take matters into his own hands.

“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 organize the campus teach-ins and they choose April 22, a weekday falling between Spring Break and Final Exams, to maximize the greatest student participation,” according to That’s right folks, an international holiday rode directly on the backs of student protestors; even as teenagers and young adults, our voices cannot be silenced in the social and political realm. This holiday is a shining example of the power that we all truly hold…I mean, about 20 million Americans were seen celebrating the first Earth Day back in 1970!

Well…What Are The Impacts?

I’m so glad you asked. While some people may think American environmental conservation ceased at the federal level after Roosevelt and his national parks, Earth Day sparked a series of legislature that directly tackled environmental issues and established a well-known organization that we all adore today! “The 1970s saw the passage of the most comprehensive environmental legislation in U.S. history, including 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.

In addition, just eight months after the first Earth Day, Richard Nixon approved the creation of a new organization tasked with monitoring the nation’s natural assets: the Environmental Protection Agency,” notes Matt Stofsky at Mental Floss. Through the tireless efforts of our predecessors and governments, humanity continues to step in the right direction when it pertains to protecting our Earth…but sometimes, it feels like we just aren’t doing enough. So, what can we do this year in spite of the pandemic to help our Earth when she needs it most?

2021 Earth Day Theme: Restore our Earth

Despite COVID-19’s undeniable impact, there’s still things we can safely do to give back to the environment! This year’s theme is focused on restoration, “which focuses on natural processes, emerging green technologies, and innovative thinking that can restore the world’s ecosystems. In this way, the theme rejects the notion that mitigation or adaptation are the only ways to address climate change. It is up to each and every one of us to Restore Our Earth not just because we care about the natural world, but because we live on it. We all need a healthy Earth to support our jobs, livelihoods, health & survival, and happiness. A healthy planet is not an option — it is a necessity,” states Through their website, there are ways to donate to the Canopy Project, organize local cleanups at lakes, parks, and other public places, or work with school officials to create a teach-in protest attached directly to the organization (safely, of course). During these trying times, the best course of action is giving back to the same planet that’s helped us grow and thrive for generations.

Well, Knights, I hope you’ve learned a think or two about Earth Day! If you are going to try to do any of the ideas listed, please make sure to keep COVID-19 procedures and safety measures in mind. Remember to strive for the impossible, be extraordinary, and give your favorite tree a nice, warm hug.

Sources used:’s%20theme%20for%20Earth%20Day,can%20restore%20the%20world’s%20ecosystems.