From the 16th to the 22nd of April is Earth Week, a week dedicated to celebrating the Earth we live on as well as a week to come together to help solve the problems that are threatening its survival. What will you do for Earth Week?
Earth Week began in 1970 when Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin realised that serious environmental issues such as deforestation and pollution were being ignored by everyone and not discussed on the news or in the media. He created Earth Week in order to help raise awareness of the threats and to find a way to reduce or prevent them.
The Earth is faced with many environmental problems that are mostly caused, or made worse, through human impact. Such issues include deforestation and ocean pollution. Deforestation is defined as clearing forest land for a non-forest purpose such as grazing land, crops or building houses. This reduces animal habitat and biodiversity.
In Australia, an animal particularly threatened by deforestation is the Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo. These stunning birds only lay one or two eggs each breeding season and nest in the hollows of old eucalypt or jarrah trees, however, in order to have these hollows, the trees need to be over 200 years old. Deforestation has removed many of these older trees, leaving the birds with nowhere to nest.
The Australian Government has classified the Red Tailed Black Cockatoo as Vulnerable, the status level before extinct. Earth Week is a chance to help stop deforestation in places where endangered species are present so that the unique biodiversity of Australia and its species are preserved.
Ocean pollution is another factor that is particularly being focused on during this year’s Earth Week by the organisation, Earth Day Network. Earth Day Network is the organisation that runs the Earth Week activities. This year they are focusing on End Plastic Pollution. Plastics are a major threat to marine life, killing 1 million birds and 100 million mammals every year from poisoning and injuring them. Earth Day Network is organising many activities to encourage people to limit the amount of plastics they use and to recycle more of their materials.
So what are these activities and how can you get involved in Earth Week? Here are some that you can do:
Check out the https://www.earthday.org/ website for an action toolkit to reduce the amount of plastics in your home. A plastics calculator will help you work out how much plastic you are using and a Personal Plastics Plan will help you keep track of your progress in reducing this number. It’s easy!
You can sign a pledge or petition to say that you will try to help end plastic pollution.
Schools can download a Climate Education Week Toolkit that gives teachers lessons they can give their students throughout the course of Earth Week about Plastic Pollution and how to reduce it.
Share your story! Whatever you do during Earth week, write about it on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and tag the post with #EarthDay2018 or #EndPlasticPollution.
See the website for more information about what you can do!
Earth week is important. Without the Earth, we would have nowhere to live. Let’s help to save it and make this week count!
About the Author
Kaitlin is 16 years old and is in year 11. She enjoys singing, bird-watching and writing stories. Her favourite genres to write in are fantasy and realistic fiction. Her favourite subjects are Science and Italian. She likes spending time with her family and three cats.