Earth Day: History, 2021 theme & speakers for events
The History and significance of Earth Day
On April 22 1970, 20 million Americans (10 percent of the population at the time) took part in the first-ever Earth Day as a way to raise awareness and teach the nation about the increasingly detrimental environmental impacts of the modernising world. Ever since, April 22 has become a day to both celebrate the wonder of the earth and call on governments and corporations to change the way we use (and sadly, abuse) our planet.
2021 Earth Day Theme
2021 marks the 51st consecutive year Earth Day has been celebrated, and the day is widely recognised around the world. Since 1970, over a billion people have participated in Earth Day events, most of which are rooted in educating the public and raising awareness. Earth Day’s mission is to ‘diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide’; a mission it has most certainly fulfilled, with 190 countries holding Earth Day events, harnessing the power of the collective action of individuals to bring about stricter environmental protections.
The 2021 Earth Day’s theme is “Broaden, Diversify, Mobilise”, where events led by environmental thought-leaders, activists and leading change-makers across the globe run throughout the weekend. The theme hopes to “broaden” the definition of environment with respect to activism, to encompass issues concerning health and communities. Earth Day 2021 hopes to do this by encouraging all levels of government to promote greening schools, creating green jobs and investing in/promoting action to stop further water and air pollution.
April 20 will see massive demonstrations rise, as led by youth climate activists such as Greta Thunnburg. April 21 will host the “Teach for the planet: Global Education Summit”, throwing back to the group’s educational basis, and April 22, Earth Day proper, will be a live event celebrating and discussing green technologies, climate and environment literacy, and local clean ups and greening initiatives.
Earth Day Keynote Speakers
Many of our talented speakers have a wealth of experience with Earth Day and environmental activism. Simon Griffiths, co-founder and CEO of Who Gives A Crap was inspired to start the profit-for-purpose toilet paper company after discovering the vast sanitation problems in the developing world. The company now uses 50% of its profits to build toilets in areas with poor sanitation, not only improving the lives of those using them, but improving the wider society by slowing the spread of diseases, ensuring members of the community can stay close to home, and preventing environmental destruction from poor sanitation and sewerage systems. In the past year alone, Who Gives A Crap has donated over $5.85 million to address sanitation problems and improved the lives of many.
Another fantastic ICMI Earth Day speaker to catch soon is Dianne McGrath – she’s on a time limit! Dianne is one of the final 100 candidates out of 202,586 applicants to be a part of the 2031 Mars One mission – Mars One because the mission is one-way. Dianne’s goal is to prove humanity can live in a completely sustainable world, and is convinced we can one day soon live in a closed-loop food system where 100 per cent of energy is renewable and we can produce our own water and oxygen. She’s very much someone you’d want to be on Mars with. Dianne is one of Australia’s leading sustainability experts and a director on the board of Open Food Network, a not-for-profit focused on food sustainability and community food. She also works with Watch My Waste, which aims to reduce food waste in the hospitality sector.
Another thought-leader in food systems resilience is Dr Anika Molesworth, who is a young female farmer and researcher of international agricultural development, and committed to developing a thriving sustainable future in rural communities. Anika has visited Antarctica, and studied areas of food scarcity, to really understand how we can mitigate future food insecurity and instability in the future.
From all of us at ICMI, happy Earth Day! We hope you champion the message to Broaden, Diversify and Mobilise.