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2 minutes to read Posted on Friday April 21, 2023

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

portrait of Shadi Ardalan

Shadi Ardalan

Head of Member State Relations and Governance , Europeana Foundation

portrait of Killian Downing

Killian Downing

Archivist , Dublin City University Library

Europeana Climate Action Community tells us about Earth Day 2023

With 22 April marking Earth Day, Europeana Climate Action Community Steering Group members Killian Downing and Shadi Ardalan tell us about the history of the day, its relevance for digital cultural heritage, and how you can get involved. 

A sunflower
Herold, Johanna Helena
Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum
Herold, Johanna Helena

What is Earth Day?

Earth Day takes place every year on the 22 April as an important global reminder about environmental protection and an invitation to take part in preserving our planet. It is a powerful social movement that encourages us – individually and collectively – to protect Earth and nature. The main purpose of Earth Day is to raise awareness of the environmental challenges our planet faces and to promote solutions for a sustainable future.

The history and impact

Earth Day was first celebrated on April 22, 1970 in the United States. After expanding into an international campaign in 1990, it is now observed globally and has since become an important event to raise awareness and inspire action. Over the years, Earth Day has played a key role in helping to shape public policy and raise public awareness about issues such as climate emergency, pollution, oceans health and habitat destruction.

On Earth Day in 2000, the issues of global warming and cleaner energy sources were brought to the forefront. With its mission to diversify and activate the environmental movement across the globe, Earth Day has mobilised civil society to advocate for climate action.

The Sustainable Development Goals were put into place in 2015 by all the member states of the United Nations to collaborate and ensure a sustainable future. There has already been some progress in environmental protection since the inception of Earth Day: renewable energy, agroecology, zero-emissions mobility, and promoting environmental justice. 

Earth Day 2023: Invest in Our Planet

This year the theme of Earth Day 2023 is ‘Invest in our planet’. There are many ways that all individuals can celebrate Earth Day 2023 and contribute to the investment in our planet, for example:

  • Become more aware, and share and raise awareness of the environmental and climate challenges, and what we can do to help

  • Reduce our CO2 emission

  • Reduce our energy consumption 

  • Demand and encourage the development and use of renewable energy sources

  • Make eco-friendly choices

  • Reduce, reuse, recycle and compost

  • Advocate for a green sustainable future 

If you want to get involved and participate in Earth Day, have a look at the interactive Earth Day map. You can also explore how the Europeana Foundation has investigated its own carbon footprint and how it could be reduced. 

Digital cultural heritage 

Alongside individual action, digital cultural heritage can contribute to preserving, protecting, and celebrating our planet, for example:

  • Through preservation of our cultural heritage to be accessed now and by future generations.

  • As a trusted medium to raise awareness and critically inform our cooperation together.

  • As a platform to care, learn, share and act together.

  • By learning from the culture, knowledge and solutions of the past, we can make sense of the present and plan for the future. 

You can read about the actions that the Europeana Initiative is taking in the Europeana Climate Action Manifesto, in which the Europeana Foundation, the Europeana Network Association and the Europeana Aggregators' Forum have agreed to advocate for and embed working practices that minimise the digital cultural heritage sector’s impact on the climate and environment. 

Get involved 

The Europeana Climate Action Community seeks to drive impactful, cooperative and sustainable action to address the climate emergency and the environmental impact of our life and work, while building on the Europeana Climate Action Manifesto. 

If you would like to learn more about our work and get involved, you can: