Happy Earth Day 2017! What is it, how to celebrate and everything you need to know about the environmental event
Today is Earth Day 2017 , so it's the perfect time to start thinking about the planet we live on - and how to save it.
Children play with a giant balloon representing the earth during Earth Day celebrations 22 April 2000 in Washington, DC
Every year, more than one billion people across the world mark the event by showing support for environmental protection .
Festivals, rallies and outdoor events are held in nearly 200 countries - often, with the support of A-list celebrities and political leaders.
But why do we celebrate Earth Day? And how is it observed by people globally?
Here, we provide a guide to the event, which takes place on April 22 each year.
When is Earth Day?
Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 every year.
What is Earth Day?
Earth Day aims to encourage people across the world to be more environmentally friendly.
This might mean increasing the amount they recycle, volunteering for a local green project or installing solar panels in their home.
The very first event for Earth Day, which was held in America nearly five decades ago following a devastating oil spill, is credited as the beginning of the modern environmental movement.
Since its launch, Earth Day has been supported by an array of famous faces, including Hollywood stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Emma Watson.
Now it is coordinated globally by the non-profit Earth Day Network, which describes it as "the largest secular holiday in the world".
Each year, festivals, parades and rallies are held in at least 192 countries to demonstrate support for environmental protection.
The day has its own flag, which was created by US peace activist John McConnell and, perhaps unsurprisingly, features a picture of the world on it.
It also has its own anthems – one of which is performed to the tune of Beethoven’s Ode To Joy, but with lyrics about protecting the planet.
This year, more than one billion people are expected to celebrate Earth Day.
For details of events in your area, visitwww.earthday.org .
What is the Paris Agreement?
Last year, the Paris Agreement saw 196 countries agree to cut their carbon emissions in an effort to keep the increase of average global temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.
It took 20 years to put in place and saw president Obama agree to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the USA's economy by 26% over the next decade - leaving it at 28% in 2025 when compared to 2005 levels.
However, Donald Trump has been vocal about his doubts over global warming, and is now threatening to pull out of the agreement altogether.
According to Trump, the plan to cut greenhouses gases will impact on US jobs and leave the country at the mercy of oil imports from the Middle East.
Trump is currently in talks with advisers and stakeholders to determine the US's position. By pulling out, he could derail the whole agreement .
Environmentalists will be holding a March for Science in Washington DC on Earth Day 2017, to make their feelings on the matter known.
However, even if the US does stick by its pledge, signing is only one step in a tortuous UN process for the deal to come into force.
The process requires formal approval by at least 55 nations representing 55% of man-made greenhouse gas emissions.
In many countries, that needs a parliamentary vote.
Where is Earth Day celebrated?
All across the Earth, of course!
The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970, in America.
It was founded by former US senator Gaylord Nelson after he saw the enormous 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California.
To mark the landmark occasion, a staggering 20 million people took part in rallies across the US.
In 1990, the event went global, with 200 million people in 141 countries celebrating it, according to the Earth Day Network.
More than two decades on, at least 192 countries mark Earth Day every year, including Britain, Canada, Ukraine, Spain, and the Philippines.
Some communities even celebrate Earth Week – an entire seven days of activities and rallies focused on the world’s environmental problems.
How should I celebrate?
Here are six ways to mark Earth Day:
- Grow your own food (or buy locally-grown produce)
- Go paperless
- Plant a tree
- Stop drinking bottled water
- Start carpooling (or take up cycling)
- Invest in a solar-powered phone charger
Google is marking Earth Day 2017 with one of its famous doodles.
The Doodle follows the story of a fox who dreams about an Earth that's been polluted and adversely affected by climate change.
The fox wakes with a start, and urgently starts making small lifestyle changes to care for the Earth.