The very first Earth Day was observed on April 22, 1970. Growing evidence that pollution was leading to developmental delays in children had led to concern and anger in many citizens. Millions of people gathered to protest the negative environmental impact of 150 years of industrial development. That year, Congress and President Nixon worked together to found the Environmental Protection Agency and pass environmental laws such as the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act. According to earthday.org, around 1 billion people in 192 countries now take part in Earth Day each year on April 22nd.
Which environmental issue hits home for you? Figure out what it is, and go out and make a difference this Earth Day. Maybe you organize a group of friends to plant trees or pick up trash. Or, perhaps you just want to start by getting educated about this awe-inspiring place we call Earth. If that’s the case, then keep on reading!
NASA’s new book “Earth” tells the story of a 4.5-billion-year-old planet that offers so much to admire. Through rare satellite images, the book shows off Earth’s land, wind, water, ice and air from above. Explore waves off the coast of Mauritania, Coral Cocos of the Indian Ocean, colorful faults of Xinjiang China, and the North Patagonian Icefield in South America. You will be blown away by what you learn about the intersection amongst Earth and its people, like the Moken people of Southeast Asia, whose hunter-gatherer lifestyle and small population have helped preserve and protect the high density of plants and animals in the Mergui Archipelago. Side note – if you love to travel, flipping through this book will inspire several unique ideas for your next destination. Be dazzled by descriptions and images of the phenomenon known as glory (which looks similar to a rainbow but is formed differently), undular bores, active stratovolcanoes, fallstreak holes (formed by ice crystals that literally fall out of the sky), and milky green water from a boom of phytoplankton.
“The spectacular images in this book remind us of the majestic beauty of our world,” said Lawrence Friedl, program director for the Applied Sciences Program in NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Earth Science Division in Washington. “We hope these images inspire everyone to explore, understand, and appreciate the planet we call home.”
When reading through this book, you will start to view Earth as NASA does. That is, a system, with various cycles and processes that are not mutually exclusive, but rather dynamic and intersecting. It can be overwhelming to think about. Even NASA admits that it still has much to learn and explore on our own planet.
Though it’s fun to dream about our planetary neighbors and space travel, the reality is that Earth is the only place most of us will ever call home. To really care about the Earth, we first have to understand how it works. While we have relied on it for so long, and always will, our Earth needs us now more than ever. Happy Earth Day!
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About the author: Blogger contributor Cat Goergen is the PR Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations office.