Establish Earth Day as Federal Holiday
Establish Earth Day as Federal Holiday
In the fall of 2019, I along with my high school chapter of Junior State of America, a high school civics organization focusing on political advocacy and discourse, led an activism project to advocate for a bill to establish Earth Day as a federal holiday. This bill was sent to every U.S. Senator and Representative along with various other environmental agencies. In spite of our efforts, little to no response was received about the bill. So, in an effort to shed light on the growing need for sustainability and drive support for this proposal, we are turning to the public to advocate this proposal. Below is an excerpt from the policy summary included in the bill. For any questions or comments pertaining to the bill, or for any requests to see the full policy proposal sent to congress, please contact email@example.com.
Of the major issues facing contemporary American society climate change is among the most prevalent. Simply put, the Earth is warming and this warming brings drastic consequences. Slowly, thousands of keystone species, lands, and ecosystems are disappearing or are put at grave risk due to this warming phenomenon. Recent history has marked a host of government and corporate environmental policy reforms, reforms that are often overlooked or mis-implemented, preventing significant progress from being made with regards to mitigating the impact of this phenomenon. No single climate change action plan or Green New Deal will make a profound impact without contributions from individual people. To achieve sustainability, individuals, in addition to corporations, are the agents that need to change their behavior to complement the ever-changing climate landscape. The changing of such behavior, however, must initially stem from an increased awareness of the issue at hand. And while discussions of the issue and other movements help inform individuals, ultimately, the promotion of such awareness requires reminding individuals of what is at stake. In other words, as opposed to discussing the environment, individuals need to be placed in the natural world.
Along the same lines Earth Day, April 22, has been a separate holiday focused on promoting awareness of the natural world and sustainable activity intended to preserve that natural world. However, as concluded earlier, sufficient environmental awareness requires placing individuals in the nation's lands. The United States is host to a plethora of such natural lands: be it the towering glaciers of Alaska, the expansive Rockies, or the low-lying valleys of the Appalachians. Unfortunately, many individuals simply cannot access these lands. Though economic or social disparity may be an issue, for most, the issue lies with a lack of time to access these lands, albeit due to work or school. To promote an awareness of the ever-changing climate, it is vital that public lands are accessible by giving individuals the time to explore.
In all, Earth Day, April 22, must be declared a federal holiday. While maximizing the accessibility of these lands requires Earth Day to be recognized as a national holiday, establishing Earth Day as a federal holiday serves as a mere pebble in the river of full public access.
This declaration enables a large portion of the public to visit American lands by allocating time to the individuals at hand. Such visitation of these lands ultimately exposes individuals the landscapes, species, and ecosystems that could very well be lost, allowing them to gauge the impact their actions have on the broader global ecosystem. Earth Day has always been about awareness, but in this ever-changing climate landscape, and with the minimal time remaining to combat the effects of climate change, it is time to consider how to effectively communicate that awareness to individuals in order to drive change and secure our own and our planet's future.