The 35th anniversary of Earth Day was celebrated last Friday worldwide by millions of people who are interested in making a difference to protect our planet, children and our future. The Earth Day Networkʼs theme for 2005 is “Protect Our Children and Our Future.” This theme has inspired a wide variety of events around the globe, including rallies, forums, meetings and marches. These help to draw worldwide attention for pressing issues that concern the world. Issues that usually cause the most concern are global poverty, environmental degradation and chronic diseases among children, such as asthma. Other environmental health issues include polluted air in inner city neighborhoods and the lack of clean drinking water in poverty-stricken countries.
The Earth Day Network was started in 1970 to promote environmental citizenship and yearround progressive action worldwide. “Our mission is to build broad-based citizen support for sound, workable and effective environmental and sustainable development policies,” said James Peterson, an environmentalist in Philadelphia. Earth Day has made a lot of progress. Companies can no longer dump poison into the rivers and impunity and urban air quality has improved dramatically. The Earth Dayʼs global network reaches more than 12,000 organizations in 174 countries according to www.earthday.net. As a result, Earth Day is celebrated by more than a half billion people around the world every year. This year during Earth Day the United States focused on drawing attention to urban environmental issues and encouraging voters in off-year mayoral elections to focus their attention on environmental positions of their candidates according to www.earthday. net.
Earth Day Network is also working to expand civic action in China and South America (Venezuela) and is leading a conference on water sustainability in Israel that is bringing together historically opposed ethnic groups to work together on regional water issues.
Earth Day is trying to make attempts to get blacks and inner city residents involved because they often live in the communities that need the most direct action to help bring an end to poverty. To get involved, access the Earth Day Network Web site at www.earth.org.