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Happy Earth Day!

Updated: Nov 17, 2021

Happy anniversary of the day we all collectively acknowledge our existence on earth and our promise to make a difference.

Every year when April 22nd comes around we are reminded once again to acknowledge the planet that gives us life, but we often don't recall why this is. Why April 22nd?

Earth day was created out of a college campus by Senator Nelson of Wisconsin. He, along with Republican Congressman Pete McCloskey as his co-chair announced the idea of a teach-in on college campuses to the media. They chose the 22nd just because it was close to spring break and thought it would boost student participation. This became the catalyst for the already growing environmental movement to gain traction. The first ever earth day attracted the participation of 20 million Americans who were fed up with the industries and the human health impacts of the unregulated pollution being spewed into their communities. In a time where people were becoming more aware of the degradation of their planet, the first Earth Day brought a lot of unity between otherwise polarized groups. Later that year Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency along with other first of their kind environmental laws like the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and many more. Despite your opinion of Nixon, we cannot deny that to date he has done more for the environment than any other president in US history. That is really sad.

Though Senator Nelson may have been the catalyst, it was the 20 million people who took to the streets who should be credited for the creation of the EPA, it is the collective will of the people that has the ability to make the waves necessary to see real change. It is going to take another moment like this to move us forward. We are currently in a politically motivated time where we desperately need change and it seems like the only way to make that an attainable goal is to take to the streets and demand our way.

On April 20th Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D - N.Y.) reintroduced the Green New Deal alongside Senator Ed Markey (D. - Mass). In their presentation they credited the grassroots organizations that helped them keep the momentum going. This included the Sunrise Movement, the Climate Justice Alliance, and 32 BJ. Further emphasizing that this is a movement for the people by the people.

As we build back from the chaos that the COVID crisis brought on to us, we need a plan to ensure we are moving forward and putting people, not profit, at the forefront of the solutions. We need to view progress through an Environmental Justice lens.

Words are great but actions are better. We the people have to put our representatives in their place and remind them who they serve. We need to put the pressure on them to move the needle and pass progressive legislation because this new generation can't wait any longer. To live in the world today is to live through a new crisis every day, but we must not become conditioned to think this is normal. We have an obligation not just to the land on which we reside, but to future generations to do better and to create a better world for them than what the previous generations left for us. We need the Green New Deal, otherwise we will lack the political will to make the change that could save us from the worst that is to come.

The other side uses scare tactics on their subordinates to scare them away from change, but what they fail to realize is that we want equity for all. They will also reap the benefits of advancing a Green New Deal because at its core it aims to take care of all people.

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