By Roxanne Leone

You’re probably one of the 1 billion people worldwide who celebrate Earth Day, which was first inaugurated by a group of American environmentalists on April 22, 1970. Twenty years later Earth Day went global, and today, it’s the largest civic observance in the world!

But even though Earth Day began in the US, the American environmentalist movement didn’t begin in earnest until Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring became a surprise bestseller in 1962.

Carson was a career biologist and the author of two previous bestsellers. Her title Silent Spring signifies the loss of songbirds, and the book was one of the first to call out the dangers of unintentional poisoning to all natural systems, due to manmade pesticides such as DDT. Its popularity launched a worldwide movement to demand protection for our natural world.

Silent Spring changed the way the US government regulated pesticides, and eventually led to the creation of the EPA. This courageous writer and scientist quickly became known for the start of the modern environmental movement.

When you think of protecting the environment, you may consider issues that affect our health and communities such as recycling, making older schools more green or creating increased awareness to stop air and water pollution. What environmental issues are top of mind for you?

How will you celebrate Earth Day on April 22, 2017?

Here are four ways to make a difference:

  1. Get involved: Visit the Earth Day website and make a donation.
  2. Change your daily habits: Join Conservation International and Starbucks Coffee Company in replacing disposable cups with reusable mugs.
  3. Volunteer: Search Taproot Foundation for volunteer positions at organizations that support the environment or public health.
  4. Get inspired: Read more about Rachel Carson and other environmentalists who are following in her footsteps.
  5. Don’t be silent: Spread the word to family and friends about the importance of Carson’s work and how we can all lend a hand.