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Earth Day—Uniting Voices Worldwide for a Sustainable Future

World Bicycle Relief’s “Trees for Bikes”A program provides a bike for every 150 saplings planted.

Did you know that on April 22, 1970—the first Earth Day—20 million Americans demonstrated from coast to coast in the United States to call for a healthy, sustainable environment? For many, it marked the beginning of the environmental movement.  The brainchild of Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, who was concerned about mainstream America’s lack of concern about air and water pollution, it eventually led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.

The principles set forth that first Earth Day are now celebrated throughout the world, including in Sub Saharan Africa. For example, throughout Zimbabwe, there will be faith-based awareness seminars, clean-up campaigns, and an Earth Day-themed concert. The African Youth Initiative on Climate Change, an umbrella group of students and youth groups, is organizing African youth participation in the climate change debate at the national and international levels.

Aid for Africa members are playing a key role in fostering a more sustainable Sub Saharan Africa, focusing on the goals of the first Earth Day—ensuring a sustainable environment, clean water, and protecting endangered species. World Bicycle Relief has initiated a “Trees for Bikes” program that provides African children with bikes in exchange for planting tree saplings. charity: water has funded 6,185 water projects, mostly in Africa, that provide clean water for communities. Solar Cookers International has enabled more than 30,000 Sub Saharan families to cook using the sun’s energy rather than wood fuel, reducing air pollution, fostering better health, and preserving forests.  Panthera continues to protect African lions, cheetah and leopards through programs with local communities.

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