Earth Day started out as an American movement but is now an international event.
California Baptist University holds events to promote being environmentally friendly with various activities such as Arbor Day and city clean up days throughout the year.
Sen. Gaylord Nelson (D-MD) in 1963 told Congress that politicians need to take charge of raising environmental awareness.
After one of the largest oil spills in the United States occurred in 1969, Nelson said he knew it was his duty to push an environmentally friendly agenda much harder. Therefore, he won over political parties to initiate change.
April 22 was proclaimed the first Earth Day in 1970 to promote the importance of keeping the earth clean and healthy.
Dr. Bonjun Koo, professor of environmental science at CBU, said environmental education and awareness is important for future generations.
“Never underestimate or ignore the power of education. All of these activities I am organizing such as Arbor Day are actually to educate students, our future,” Koo said. “If they keep how important it is in their Christian mind, our next generation will do better to take care of Earth.”
With an increase in awareness, the Environmental Care Agency was created along with the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Protection Act.
Since 2014, CBU has been certified by the Arbor Day Foundation, in addition to a handful of other universities in Southern California, to annually plant trees March 30.
Madison Santiago, freshman environmental science major, said she is a strong supporter of Earth Day.
“I have seen first-hand the importance and impact (Earth Day has had) on previously non-environmentally conscious people,” Santiago said. “Often, we don’t think about how our small decisions have a large impact on the natural world but on this day it wakes people up to issues they may have overlooked previously.”
Antonio Diaz-Vega, sophomore environmental science major, said he makes sure he does what he can to be environmentally friendly and urges other students as well.
“I recycle, clean up after myself, make sure I take shorter showers,” Thomas said. “My favorite thing about Earth Day is that it instills good healthy habits for both the people and the world.”
Students wanting to participate in an Earth Day celebration may attend the Earth Day Grove Clean Up in California Citrus State Historic Park April 21, from 8-10 a.m. in Riverside, Calif.