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Marking a Sombre Earth Day

Photo Credit: Rene Asmussen Photo Credit: Rene Asmussen

April 22, 2020

Today is the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day. What began as an outpouring of environmental demonstrations across the United States of America on April 22, 1970 became a global anniversary that more than a billion people honour worldwide. 

Today should be a day of celebration and resolute advocacy for environmental and climate justice. Instead, our hearts are heavy with grief as we write this message, and we know that many of you reading it feel the same sorrow too.

The East Coast Environmental Law team is based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This weekend, Nova Scotia witnessed horrific violence that took the lives of twenty-two known victims and robbed many others of cherished family members and friends. All of us, throughout the province, are mourning, and we know that others across Canada share in our collective sadness and grief.

The unspeakable losses sustained this week come in the midst of an already difficult time, with families and communities across Canada and around the world losing loved ones to COVID-19. For many, grief has been painfully present throughout this winter and spring.

Earth Day was born from a desire to protect the ecosystems that sustain life, with the preciousness of human and non-human lives vividly in mind. The first Earth Day demonstrators wanted to change the world, and they acted with hopefulness that the world could be changed for the better. East Coast Environmental Law looks forward to honouring Earth Day belatedly by sharing messages of hopefulness and cheer in the weeks to come, but today we choose to honour the lives of those who have been taken from our communities in recent days and months.

The grief that so many feel today will be with us for some time. To those experiencing it most directly, know that you are in our thoughts.