What do Leonardo DiCaprio, Jared Leto, and Ian Somerhalder have in common? Any ideas? Well, let us tell you: they all support Earth Day!
Earth Day has been celebrated on 22nd April every year since 1970, when it started out as a way of encouraging Americans to be more active in helping protect nature. Since then, the movement has become globally recognised and now, around one billion people take part in this environmentally friendly celebration.
Earth Day’s campaign this year will focus on ‘Environmental & Climate Literacy;’ on their website, it is explained “education is the foundation for progress…we need to empower everyone with the knowledge to inspire action in defence of environmental protection”.
There are no rules for how to participate in Earth Day; activities can range from planting trees to campaigning for environmental policy change.
Here’s how some of our favourite celebrities are getting involved:
Leonardo DiCaprio was recently named the United Nations Messenger of Peace for Climate Change and he also received the 2014 Clinton Global Citizen Award. His environmental foundation (The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation – LDF) was set up in 1998, and it focuses on preserving and protecting wildlife and wild areas through funding conservation projects. Check it out here.
Being a vegan and an animal rights activist is not all that Jared Leto does to help the environment; in 2008 he directed a short film, ‘A Beautiful Lie,’ which benefitted the Natural Resources Defense Council, and in 2015, he became a global ambassador for the World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Have a look at his video supporting WWF here.
Established in 2010, the Ian Somerhalder Foundation (ISF) has also worked on programmes, projects and collaborations that promote the protection and restoration of our planet. Read up on the ISF’s work and what you can do here.
Despite their busy schedules, these actors still make time for raising awareness and funding for projects that make a real, positive difference to our planet. So, what’s your excuse? Do we really have an excuse to sit back and allow the very planet we live on, to be abused and attacked every day? If someone came into our house and released poisonous gases into our rooms, poured hazardous chemicals into our bathtubs, and dumped rubbish onto our beds, would it take long for us to act?
Well, this is the tragic truth for nature right this very moment. Only, animals and plants cannot act against it; they cannot defend their homes or their families in the face of injustices caused by mankind. But we can, and we are choosing not to.
Earth Day serves as a reminder to us all that while we go about our daily lives, the problem of global warming and pollution still lurks in the background, as an unshakeable shadow.
According to NASA, most of global warming has “occurred in the past 35 years, with 15 of the 16 warmest years on record occurring since 2001.” Furthermore, since the Industrial Revolution, “the acidity of surface ocean waters has increased by about 30 percent,’ and Greenland has been losing ‘150 to 250 cubic kilometres (36 to 60 cubic miles) of ice per year between 2002 and 2006.”
These facts are scary, but they don’t seem to scare us enough to act. Maybe, this is because some of us don’t think that we’re part of the problem. Whilst it’s true that our contributions are disproportionate, each one of us still has the same duty of care for our environment.
We cannot rely on those who have more power or a higher status than us to deal with this crisis, because these individuals are often the greatest contributors to it; and we cannot just leave it to scientists to figure out how to get us out of the environmental mess because we’re running out of time. It’s up to you and it’s up to me.
One reason why we are reluctant to step in and make a change to our environment is that negative connotations have become unfairly attached to the term “environmentalist.” Urban Dictionary defines this as a “Tree hugger who opposes the advancement of civilisation, industry and business,” which unfortunately gives an accurate insight into the feelings towards environmental activism today. The stereotype can put people off taking action because assumptions mask and neglect the genuine, caring values that motivate the environmental movement.
We want to be reassured that we can continue living our comfortable lives without judgment or the inconvenience of change, but our ignorant bliss cannot go on any longer. We must come back down to Earth and face up to the damage that we have done.
So how will you make a difference this Earth Day? Let us know by tweeting us @SANTmagazine
Words: Danielle Wing
Hashtags: #climatechange #earthday #environmentalist #doyourbit #takeaction