Earth Day

Earth Day

Date: 22/04/2020 10:18

It's Earth Day and a particularly special one too, as we mark the 50th anniversary of the first ever Earth Day! The initial celebrations took place in the US and made quite the impact, ushering in an era of change, not only in the way that people looked at their relationship with the land, but also leading to the creation of institutions such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

1990 saw the first international Earth Day and is credited for giving a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide, mobilising some 200 million people across 141 countries. It also paved the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

This past year has seen another upsurge in environmental activism, notably in the form of Extinction Rebellion. The protest organisation even managing to shut down some of the busiest capitals in the world. Significantly, in April and May 2019, Scotland, Wales and the UK Parliament led the way in declaring a Climate Emergency, after which 1,400 local governments in 28 countries followed suit. The Oxford Dictionary defines a Climate Emergency as "a situation in which urgent action is required to reduce or halt climate change and avoid potentially irreversible environmental damage resulting from it", this means that everybody needs to play their part.

In the current day and age, digital and social media are furthering these conversations, with protests and strikes shared with and inspiring a global audience. Note the popularity of environmental activist Greta Thunberg who, at 15, started the global School Climate Strike movement, with young people ditching school and taking to the streets to protest. 

Here, in the Digital Film Archive, there is a whole host of videos dating from the 1980’s which showcase the concern local filmmakers had for the environment. Click here for our Environment collection and be a part of this important conversation, as well as being able to marvel at local landscapes and natural history.