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Unaware of Earth Day, Brazilian youth still want to help the planet

Nicole Luna/YJI

Maringá, BRAZIL – Today, many countries celebrate the Blue Planet on Earth Day, a special date to rethink human relations with the planet they’re living on.

Earth Day began in the United States in 1970 as a way to promote environmental conservation.

From a date only celebrated in North America, Earth Day grew over time into the biggest global opportunity to connect both activists and others who wanted to raise their voices against the harmful human footprint that is destroying the planet.

In Brazil, Earth Day became noticed in 1992, after the United Nations promoted a global environmental conference in Rio de Janeiro, the Eco-Rio or Eco-92. 

But according to interviews, Earth Day is still not very popular with young Brazilians, many of whom had never heard of it.

Youth Journalism asked a few high school students if they had ever heard of Earth Day.

“Not really,” said Maria Eduarda, 15.

“I have never heard anything about it from our city hall or from my school,” said 17-year-old Vitor Takemura. “Despite it’s so valuable since it’s about our home, I think more people should be more aware of this movement and celebrate it more.”

Recent government actions on the environment don’t help to change this scenario.

Gabriel Cipriano, an 18-year-old freshman studying software engineering, shared his frustration about how Brazil has been facing global warming.

“Since part of the economy isn’t focused on preserving the environment, I think Brazil isn’t taking any big initiative on that,” said Cipriano.

Earth Day isn’t as popular here as it is in the U.S., but some Brazilians are aware of climate change and the environmental consequences that will come if nothing is done to phase it out. 

All of those interviewed said they know which actions harm the environment.

“The world isn’t only mine, it belongs to all of us, so we must take care of it,” said Mateus Matioli, 17. “If I don’t do this, I’m just being one more person who is contributing to the destruction of our planet.”

When asked about what can be done to protect the environment, Takemura said, “We can do all of the small little things, like turning off the tap when you’re not using it, saving energy – especially in the shower — and not throwing the trash away anywhere, because all of these actions help a lot!”

Nicole Luna is a Reporter with Youth Journalism International.

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