When is Earth Day? What to Know About the Annual Event Celebrating the Outdoors and Our Planet

by Clayton Edwards

Earth Day is a celebration of our planet. It is a day to get out and enjoy the outdoors. At the same time, it is a day of reflection. We all have a part to play in the preservation of our planet. Today is a day for each of us to think about what we can do to help. Many people plant trees, clean up litter, or just get out and enjoy the great outdoors. Above all, today is a day to remember that we are all irrevocably connected to the Earth.

When is Earth Day?

Earth Day always falls on April 22. Families and individuals plan activities and outings for this day. People around the world have observed the celebration for decades. There are a couple of reasons why it falls on the same day every year.

The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970. Originally, it was a grassroots campaign of demonstrations against pollution. The first observance of the holiday was planned by a San Francisco-based activist named John McConnell and Wisconsin senator Gaylord Nelson. McConnel wanted to hold it on the spring equinox, which changes from year to year. On the other hand, they knew that the holiday’s date should be chosen with college students in mind. So, they went for April 22 because it was between Spring Break and final exams for college students. At the same time, a set day made it easier to plan for.

There is a deeper meaning to the day on which Earth Day is celebrated, though. The holiday’s originators took inspiration from Arbor Day. Julius Sterling Morton organized the first Arbor Day in 1872. Years later the Nebraska state legislature made it a state holiday. They set the holiday on April 22, because it was Morton’s birthday, according to Mental Floss.

Every Year is Different

Earth Day falls on the same day every year. However, every year is different. This is because each year’s holiday has a theme. Every year, the theme focuses on some facet of environmental protection that is most pressing. For instance, this year’s theme is “Restore Our Planet.” This year, the larger environmental community is urging everyone to do their part to clean up, use renewable energy sources, and generally work toward restoring our ecosystems to their former glory. At the heart of this year’s theme, says EarthDay.Org president Kathleen Rogers, “is optimism, a critically needed sentiment in a world ravaged by both climate change and the pandemic.”

Since last year, all major Earth Day events have gone virtual. This has allowed the speakers to reach a wider audience than ever before. This year’s events started on Tuesday and will continue until this evening. You can go to the Earth Day Events page and see the schedule. If you don’t see something there that piques your interest that’s fine.

Social distancing has hampered large-scale events. However, smaller community-based events are still happening. Just Google events in your local area. There’s a good chance that there’s still time to get in on a community event of some kind. Events range from tree plantings and clean-up efforts to nature hikes or just enjoying the outdoors with like-minded people.

However, if being in a group isn’t your thing, that’s fine too. You can get out on your own and enjoy the outdoors. You don’t need a holiday to do that. But, Earth Day is as good a reason as any to get outside and enjoy Mother Earth.