Column: Communities come together, take action to celebrate Earth Day

This+week%2C+Earth+Day+takes+place%2C+as+Prosper+mother+Tracey+George+waters+her+plants+in+her+garden.+George%27s+goal+is+to+create+a+sustainable+garden+of+native+plants%2C+with+the+ultimate+aim+of+helping+local+wildlife+thrive.+%22My+mom+is+always+outside+gardening+or+thinking+about+what+she+can+add+to+the+garden+to+attract+bees%2C%22+George%27s+daughter+and+sophomore+Kalyani+Rao+said.+%22I+really+think+this+is+what+Earth+Day+should+be+about-+bringing+people+together+who+want+to+care+for+the+planet+and+create+a+conscious+safe+space+for+our+environment%27s+animals.%22

This week, Earth Day takes place, as Prosper mother Tracey George waters her plants in her garden. George’s goal is to create a sustainable garden of native plants, with the ultimate aim of helping local wildlife thrive. “My mom is always outside gardening or thinking about what she can add to the garden to attract bees,” George’s daughter and sophomore Kalyani Rao said. “I really think this is what Earth Day should be about- bringing people together who want to care for the planet and create a conscious safe space for our environment’s animals.”

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Our planet is a complicated place, boasting both constantly improving areas and ones that need a little more care. Issues like global warming, deforestation, air pollution and climate change have pushed global citizens to take action to protect the Earth, which is honored on the annual April 22 celebration of Earth Day. Earth Week, an extended time for students to learn more about environmental problems, runs April 16-22.

The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970, when a United States senator from Wisconsin organized a national demonstration to raise awareness about environmental issues. Rallies took place across the country, and by the end of the year, the U.S. government had created the Environmental Protection Agency. By 1990, Earth Day was an event celebrated by more than 140 countries around the globe.

During the three days that Earth Day takes place this year, the goal is to take climate action. Many organizations encourage this, as Earth Day 2021 begins with a global youth climate summit led by Earth Uprising, a global youth activist group focused on tackling climate change. This is also in collaboration with My Future My Voice, a project featuring youth video messages from around the world of how they’ve created something to battle climate change, along with OneMillionOfUs, an organization that creates intersectional youth focused civic partnerships to provide young people with the tools they need to spur systemic change in their communities, school buildings, and political offices.

There are countless organizations participating, and the global youth summit will consist of panels, speeches, discussions and special messages with today’s youth climate activists including Greta Thunberg, Alexandria Villaseñor, and Licypriya Kangujam.

In the evening on April 20, the Hip Hop Caucus and its partners will present the “We Shall Breathe” virtual summit. The Hip Hop Caucus is a national, non-profit and non-partisan organization that connects the Hip Hop community to the civic process to build power and create positive change. They focus on helping pass acts and laws that benefit minority populations.

The “We Shall Breathe” digital event will examine climate and environmental justice, connecting the climate crisis to issues of pollution, poverty, police brutality, and the pandemic within the framework of racial justice.

Education International will lead the “Teach for the Planet: Global Education Summit” April 21. The multilingual virtual summit will span several time zones and feature prominent activists from every continent, focused on the crucial role that educators play in combating climate change and why we need transformative climate education now.

Parallel to the Biden Administration’s global climate summit, EARTHDAY.ORG will have its second Earth Day Live digital event, beginning at 11 a.m. April 22. Workshops, panel discussions and special performances will focus on “Restore Our Earth” — which will cover natural processes, emerging green technologies, and innovative thinking that can restore the world’s ecosystems.

As Prosper residents, Earth Day is a way for all to come together and celebrate our community. Events throughout Texas brings people together to eat, drink and listen to activists in the area. The Healthy Hippie Cafe in Watauga is hosting the plant-based, eco-friendly extravaganza of the year, and Saturday, April 24, will be an entire day packed with live music, classes, delicious food, activities, guest speakers, raffles and giveaways, all for people to show their support through their actions for the Earth.

Initiatives to take for Earth Day:

Limit the amount of waste you contribute by reducing the number of things you buy. One way to combat landfill waste is by participating in the capsule wardrobe trend and sustainable fashion. By buying clothes that will last you a long time, and thinking long-term about the least amount of clothes you need to maintain your wardrobe goals, you can contribute big-time to saving the Earth.

Try to conserve electrical energy by using only what you need. The gist of most actions you can take to protect the planet is to conserve, whether it’s to buy less or use less. If you leave a room, turning off the light helps more than you think towards climate change. As well, using less water is crucial to protecting the environment. It can be as simple as turning off the water when shaving or brushing your teeth.

Donate to non-profit organizations that can take large-scale action to protect the environment. 

Amazon Watch was founded in 1996 to protect the rainforest and advance the rights of Indigenous peoples in the Amazon Basin. They partner with Indigenous and environmental organizations in campaigns for human rights, corporate accountability, and the preservation of the Amazon’s ecological systems.

Conservation International is dedicated to combining science, policy and fieldwork to help communities, countries and societies protect the Earth’s ecosystems. It mainly focuses on deforestation and global warming, working with communities, governments and partner organizations through a combination of policy, fieldwork and science in order to tackle deforestation.

The Rainforest Action Network works to take action against the companies and industries driving deforestation and climate change. RAN envisions a world where each generation sustains increasingly healthy forests, where the rights of all communities are respected, and where corporate profits never come at the expense of people or the planet.

The Rainforest Alliance helps to protect some of the world’s most important—and threatened—landscapes, from the foothills of the Andes to the highlands of Cameroon. Fighting deforestation and climate change and building economic opportunities and better working conditions for rural people are just two of the main goals the Rainforest Alliance is working towards in order to solve urgent environmental and social challenges.

A donation as small as $5 can be an important contribution to helping organizations like these and others protect our environment. It’s not too late to contribute to saving our planet, and there are infinite ways to start. Today can be the day you take action.20