Earth Day in 2019 is on Monday, April 22, a time to celebrate God’s Creation and to work and advocate for its protection and careful stewardship. At almost 50 years old, it is now a global event, when over a billion people in 192 countries take part annually in what is the largest civic-focused day of action in the world.
On Easter Sunday, April 21, we celebrate Festival of God’s Creation Day, always the Sunday closest to Earth Day. Find worship resources at UM Discipleship Ministries and at https://www.webofcreation.org/worship.
“Our care of creation is an act of worship. And our worship is an act of caring for creation,” says the Green Congregation Program. “Worship can be a time to increase our awareness of the world around us, to increase our appreciation of the sacredness of creation, and to deepen our desire to treat it with dignity and respect.”
Earth Day began in 1970, when millions of people took to the streets to protest the negative impacts of 150 years of industrial development. In the U.S. and around the world, smog was becoming deadly and evidence was growing that pollution led to developmental delays in children. Biodiversity was in decline as a result of the heavy use of pesticides and other pollutants.
The global ecological awareness was growing, and the U.S. government responded by creating the Environmental Protection Agency and robust environmental laws, such as the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.
Earth Day is a day of political action and civic participation. People march, sign petitions, meet with their elected officials, plant trees, clean up their towns and roads. Corporations and governments use it to make pledges and announce sustainability measures. Faith leaders, including Pope Francis, connect Earth Day with protecting God’s greatest creations, humans, biodiversity and the planet that we all live on.
Earth Day Network, the organization that leads Earth Day worldwide, chose Protect Our Species as the theme for Earth Day 2019. Last year’s theme focused on ending plastic pollution. Next year, Earth Day 2020 will mark the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day.
Find out more about the 2019 theme for Earth Day, to protect threatened and endangered species.