Earth Day 2013: How Are People Around The World Celebrating Earth Day?

By Philip Ross on April 22, 2013 2:10 PM EDT

Earth day 2013
People gather on a sea wall as they take part in the "Save Manila Bay" event during Earth Day celebrations in Manila. (Photo: Reuters)

Forty-three years after the first Earth Day was inaugurated, activists around the world are paying homage to Mother Nature through events ranging from save-the-bay demonstrations to theatrical parades to tree-planting.

The Los Angeles Times points out that while Earth Day is not a federal holiday in the U.S., we're preparing younger generations to carry the torch of environmental activism forward, as Earth Day has become part and parcel of the elementary school curriculum.

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Earth Day's Roots

Earth Day's roots go back to the 1960s as Vietnam War protests reached their fever pitch. Fox News reports that Gaylord Nelson, a democratic senator from Wisconsin, wanted to use the fervor of the 1960s peace movement to mobilize an environmental one. After he visited an oil spill site near Santa Barbara, Calif., Nelson chose April 22, 1970, to represent the first Earth Day because it didn't coincide with any other big U.S. holidays. Nelson was trying to garner support for the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, which Congress created in December of 1970.

The very first Earth Day celebration consisted of demonstrations in thousands of college campuses and elementary schools across the U.S. According to an article in EPA Journal from November 1985, the first Earth Day in the U.S. consisted of a medley of events, some more friendly than others.

"Oil-coated ducks were dumped on the doorstep of the Department of the Interior...A student disguised as the Grim Reaper stalked a General Electric Company stockholders' meeting...Demonstrators dragged a net filled with dead fish down Fifth Avenue, and shouted to passers-by, "This could be you!," according to the EPA article.

The first Earth Day in the U.S. is also what sparked the passage of the Clean Water, Clean Air and Endangered Species acts, according to Fox News.

Earth Day 2013 Around The Globe

Cultures vary across political borders, but the cause of caring for the environment is universal. Here are some of the ways our global community is taking part in Earth Day 2013.

Manila, Philippines
In the capital city of Manila, activists partook in the Save Manila Bay event. Their purpose was to stop the waterfront along the bay from being over-developed. "Sunset on Manila Bay is a spectacular experience, and is free for all to enjoy. But not for long, if developers have their way," reads the organization's petition on change.org.

Surabaya, Indonesia
Activists in Indonesia marched through the streets carrying a giant Earth on their shoulders; there was even a guy spitting fireballs into the air. According to the World Wildlife Fund, or WWF, Indonesia's current environmental concerns include deforestation, overfishing, pollution and vanishing natural resources caused by a growing global appetite for Indonesia's resources, which include timber, gold, oil and gas.

Hyderabad, India
Protestors with The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, wearing green wigs and with their bodies painted green, held signs that said "Choose Vegan For A Green Earth." Mirror reports that PETA wants people to switch to a vegan diet as part of its initiative to curb carbon emissions.

New York City, U.S.
In New York City, a small fleet of electric taxis was released onto the streets as part of the city's new electric taxi pilot program. Uber Gizmo reports that Mayor Bloomberg wants half of New York's 13,000 taxis to go electric by 2020. The cabs are believed to reduce gas emissions by nearly 90,000 tons a year.

Read more from iScience Times:

Earth Day 2013 Observes 'Faces Of Climate Change': 8 Amazing Facts About Climate Change Unknown To Many

Climate Change Could Kill 100 Million By 2030

Climate Change Stresses Out Cows, Lowers Milk Production

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