Earth Day is more important now than ever

This Friday will mark the 46th annual Earth Day. Since this holiday isn’t accompanied by raucous partying, excessive drinking or any special types of food, like many popular holidays are, it may seem like one of the more insignificant holidays.

Even if you don’t usually care about Earth Day, you should care about this one.

Although we are only four months into 2016, we as a planet have already reached record-breaking global temperatures, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information. Consequently, President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping of China are planning to sign the Paris climate agreement, the first-ever contract that commits nearly every country to taking action against climate change. Earth Day just so happens to be the date on which they plan to sign the document, making this April 22 a historic event.

Another reason this Earth Day is particularly significant, at least for our city, is that an agreement to work to protect the earth was signed in San Francisco in March 1969, when the idea for Earth Day was initially proposed.

Since 2011, the state of California has been in a severe drought, with the year between September 30, 2014 and September 30, 2015 being the warmest year on record, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information.

The severity of the drought prompted Governor Jerry Brown to declare a State of Emergency in January 2014. However, as of earlier this month, California residents have collectively conserved enough water to last almost six million people for a year, according to the State of California’s government website. This is 96 percent of the statewide conservation goal Brown set.

Despite this victory, there are still some California residents who don’t feel as though they should be doing their part to help conserve water and assist in ending the record-breaking drought that has plagued our state for five years so far.

This Earth Day can serve as a way to celebrate California’s water conservation victory, as well as encourage other Californians to pay more attention to their water use.

Ride your bike to work or school this Friday. Turn off the lights when you leave the room, even if it’s only for one day. At least then you can say you participated in one of the most historic Earth Days since its inception.

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