Earth Day goes back to an ecological catastrophe in the USA in 1969: Following an accident on an oil platform off the coast of California, oil flowed into the Santa Barbara Channel, polluting the coast of all eight islands in the channel. When US senator Gaylord Nelson realized the extent of the spill, he started a campaign to raise environmental awareness in the United States. Nelson's call to celebrate an “Earth Day” on April 22, 1970 mobilized nearly 20 million US citizens, who took part in marches and events to promote environmental protection. Led by the Earth Day Network, Earth Day became an annual event. The first global Earth Day was organized in 1990. As a further symbolic action, 175 nations signed the Paris Agreement on climate change on Earth Day 2016. April 22, 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Nelson's idea.
Companies play an important role in Earth Day: They support sustainability and climate protection by encouraging technological innovations geared to these objectives. Evonik accepts its responsibility for people and environment. We started to integrate ecological and social criteria into our business decisions at an early stage in order to move in sustainable new directions.
For example, our products are helping to create efficient and sustainable energy solutions. Together with Eindhoven University of Technology, we are researching ways of storing thermal energy to heat homes. Evonik supplies potash—the most important ingredient for this sustainable new technology. Evonik also produces metal oxides, which increase the life of lithium ion batteries for lasting use in electric cars. Similarly, our self-adhesive labels without backing materials and oxygen absorbers for vacuum-packed food make a contribution to sustainable consumption. Our silicas are an environment-friendly alternative to microplastics in face peels and toothpaste.
These are just some of the ways in which Evonik contributes to a sustainable world—not just on Earth Day. Learn more: