What’s Earth Day All About?
It’s that time of year when las flores begin to bloom, la lluvia has its own mind, y el sol comes in and out as it pleases – spring.
At this point, you’ve probably experienced at least one or more of the following:
- Stepping in a puddle – Everybody has those days….
- Taking off or putting on your sweater at least five times within el día – Can you not, weather?
- Enjoying watching the rain from the comfort of tu sala – Cafecito in hand y musica de boleros in the background. A vibe.
Whichever emoción la primavera brings you, one thing we can most likely agree on is that Mother Nature has control – to a point.
What does this mean?
It means that we, la gente, also have control over Mother Nature in giving us an average amount of lluvia y sol year after year.
By treating her right, of course!
But are we really treating her right?
Are we doing our part in taking care of her? How does investing in our planet benefit all of us?
All important questions, but let’s not go into information overload. Instead, let’s go to the beginning with what started it all—Earth Day or Día de la Tierra.
Earth Day in the United States
Many of us hear or see the word “Earth Day” thrown around in April, but may not exactly know what it means or why it’s emphasized en Abril.
Well, for starters, Earth Day is an annual event that began in 1970 en Los Estados Unidos.1 Back in the day, mucha gente didn’t consider the detrimental effects of products they used in their everyday lives. The biggest one being ozone pollution from los autos y las fabricas industriales. The tipping point for change was when the oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, pushed la comunidad to take action.
Politicians and activists talked to los estudiantes en los colegios about the importance of taking care of the planet. To get the most participation, the day chosen to speak at the colleges was April 22nd.
Why? Because it was right between Spring Break and finals.
They knew those students had to be there.
So what did those students do?
They protested to protect the environment.
Colleges, universities, and groups of all backgrounds rallied across the country for a change in legislation. It was more than a protest, it was a movement.
Fighting for the protection of the environment was a movement because everything had to be done from scratch. This meant that they first needed to immerse themselves in learning everything about the environment. Imagine taking a crash course in the sciences knowing your time was ticking!
On a social level, these activists had to think about their audience. How they went about organizing activities had to be coordinated to meet everyday Americans and powerful politicians. The tone was key to inclusivity.
It’s with this energy and this spirit that we move forward at Nopalera to preserve the Earth. Just like these protests, we created our path through strength and resilience.
After all the positive change these acts brought upon the United States, it had a ripple effect on the rest of the world. By 1990 Earth Day went global and by 1992 the United Nations Earth Summit took place in en el país de los Brasilieros– specifically, Rio de Janeiro.
So how does this global impact help us learn more about Earth Day?
Let’s take a look south of los Estados Unidos—América Latina.
América Latina –Where Is It and What Countries Are Part of It?
Dust off those geography books, take out a globe or get on Google Earth for this mini geography lesson by Nopalera.
No te preocupes, this visual gives a better understanding of where everything is as we dive into Earth Day in Latin America.
Type in “Latin America on a map” on Google and you’ll see that it includes México in North America, Caribbean countries like Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico, and a few Central and South American countries.
So we have the location of these beautiful países, but what defines these countries as Latin American?
In the simplest terms, Latin American countries are those where the dominant language es Español. The language came to the Americas by the Spanish, and the majority of the countries still speak Spanish to this day.
These Latin American countries unite with a common language, but what makes each país unique is how Earth Day celebrations take on different roles in different countries.
What the Word “Celebration” Means to Different Latin American Countries
What comes to your mind when you think of the word, “celebrate?”
Maybe piensas en piñatas, pastel, y música. You probably think of laughter and smiles too.
While the word may give most of us feelings of happiness and excitement, not all countries have similar feelings when it comes to the celebration of Earth Day.
Here are a few countries in América Latina where you can see celebrations take shape in different forms.
México and Argentina
En México y Argentina, Earth Day celebrations take place with a mixture of dances and protests. Celebrations are significant in these countries because they highlight the history of the Aztec connection to la tierra. They also show justice for campaigners of the environment who’ve lost their lives in protection of it.
In México, el nopal holds significance because of its role in Aztec history.
As the Aztecs searched for a new place to call home, their god told them they'd find their home when they saw a cactus growing from a rock. The Aztecs traveled until they stopped in the Valley of México. In that valley, there was a lake with a small island in the middle. The island had one cactus on it and on that cactus stood an eagle with a snake in its mouth. The Aztecs took this as a sign from the gods and decided to make the valley their hogar. This valley is known as Tenochtitlan, which means an area where el nopal grows from stone.
So how does this historic legend tie in with Earth Day?
Knowing that a cactus needs little water to survive, this plant is naturally resilient and sustainable. Its resilience shows why it's an iconic symbol seen on the Mexican flag.
Subconsciously, the Aztecs helped pave the way to environmental awareness. Being eco-conscious has only continued to grow over the years.
Because environmental awareness has increased since 1990, many Méxicanos are willing to invest more in the products they buy. Por ejemplo, in 2019 48% of Méxicanos paid more for products that were environmentally friendly, like natural cosmetics. A great product, for those looking for an eco-conscious choice, is the Moisturizing Botanical Bar from Nopalera.
The moisturizing botanical bar allows you to avoid purchasing lotion in plastic bottles. Say goodbye to all those empty bottles lying around the house and welcome in deeply hydrating jabón! Did we mention that this soap also comes in a reusable and recyclable tin?
Yes, the environment is an important reason to be more conscious about what people buy, but on top of that, natural products are healthier.
They don't have chemicals that are toxic en tu cuerpo. Instead, you'll find natural ingredients like plant butters, oils, water, and prickly pear cactus.
Help the environment and your body be healthier, not just on Earth Day, but everyday.
In the Caribbean, Earth Day gears more towards the protection of the ecosystem since so many tourists visit these countries each year. Taking care of the ecosystem in countries like Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico is not only for the preservation of la naturaleza, but for the livelihood of los Cubanos, Dominicanos, y Puertorriqueños. If the ecosystem begins to deteriorate, tourists don’t visit and many people lose their jobs.
So in the spirit of Earth Day now and every day, think about como podemos apoyar la gente del caribe.
Here are a few ideas to help you get started when you take your next vacation to these beautiful countries:
- Think smarter with transportation– Once you get to your destination, try out a shared ride or a bike! Might as well get that fresh air.
- Cut down on the plastic– Cloth bags, reusable water bottles, Nopalera Noche Clara bar soap, and metal straws are a few things you can use on your trip.
- Buy local– Make sure whatever you buy comes from the local community. This can include doing your homework and seeing if the places you stay at practice fair labor and are sustainable.
- Show it off on social media– Let tus amig@s see where you went and how you were a great eco tourist so they can follow in your footsteps!
So on your next trip, keep your skin hydrated and glowing with the idea of easy to travel with, natural Nopalera products, and sustainability in mind.
Central, South America, and the Caribbean
And finally, the mesmerizing countries of Central and South America, and parts of del caribe.
While estos países may have specific celebrations, one important thing that unites most of these countries is the Escazú Agreement.
The Esaczú Agreement came to surface on March 4, 2018 in Costa Rica. It highlights the right for everyone to live in an environment that is healthy and sustainable. The Agreement reached full force by April 22, 2021. Currently, 12 countries have ratified it.
What does it mean to be healthy and sustainable?
One way is to be conscious of the products and companies you’re buying from.
It’s easy to go online and become distracted by the graphics and fun words that make you want to click “Buy Now.” But, we challenge you to dig deeper into your shopping experience so that you know your job as the consumer is being played ethically.
When you buy from Nopalera, you’ll immediately see how the company was built, by who, and what ingredients we choose to use in our collection.
In addition to sustainable products from companies, here are a few specific actions some of these countries have taken to make sure they’re setting up a better future for la gente alive today and those born in the future.
Maybe you already do some of the things you see below. If not, empieza ahora!
- Environmental education– Las escuelas and community groups host workshops and seminars to educate la gente about the issues happening in the environment and show how to practice sustainability.
- Reforestation activities– Reducing carbon footprints can be as easy as planting un árbol.
- Sustainable agriculture– Crop rotation, composting, and organic farming are a few ideas los granjeros do to help the environment.
- Community clean-up events– Cleaning up los parques, la playa, y las calles helps waste management practices.
- Awareness- raising campaigns– Like the Escazú Agreement, there are so many more campaigns that encourage involvement in sustainable practices.
Día de la Tierra has come a long way, but as you may know, we still have more work to do to make sure Earth is here to stay for generations to come.
How Will You Reflect, Educate, and Take Action to Help Nuestro Mundo?
One way you can start is by purchasing natural products.
At Nopalera, we’re committed to providing you with high-quality products that work, as well as the items you’re already using. Our products are considered high-quality because of the ingredient we use– the cactus. Its sustainable and resilient qualities make it one of the most versatile plants in the world. Be part of that energy.
We care about your health and the health of our planet, so our products are always made with sustainability in mind.
Beyond that, we are proud of our Latin@ heritage. Our company prides itself on celebrating Mexican culture with no apologies.
Being part of the Nopalera family means you're celebrating Latin American heritage and helping our planet thrive, so she can live on to see another Earth Day.
Let’s make Earth Day every day. She is nuestra hogar, after all.
Written by Mayra Gómez-Sánchez
- “The History of Earth Day.” Earth Day, https://www.earthday.org/history/. Accessed 7 April 2023.
- “Vintage Photos Show US Cities Before the EPA Regulated Pollution.” Business Insider, 14 August 2019, https://www.businessinsider.com/what-us-cities-looked-like-before-epa-regulated-pollution-2019-8. Accessed 7 April 2023.
- Rome, Adam. “Perspective | Earth Day 1970 was more than a protest. It built a movement.” The Washington Post, 22 April 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/04/22/earth-day-1970-was-more-than-protest-it-built-movement/. Accessed 7 April 2023.
- “Latin America's Physical Features & Geography | Where is Latin America?” Study.com, 17 October 2021, https://study.com/learn/lesson/latin-america-physical-features-geography.html. Accessed 7 April 2023.
- Bodenheimer, Rebecca. “What Is Latin America? Definition and List of Countries.” ThoughtCo, 28 July 2019, https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-latin-america-4691831. Accessed 7 April 2023.
- “Mexico and Argentina celebrate Earth Day with dances and protests | Africanews.” Africa News, 23 April 2022, https://www.africanews.com/2022/04/23/mexico-and-argentina-celebrate-earth-day-with-dances-and-protests/. Accessed 7 April 2023.
- Symbols of Mexico, https://embamex.sre.gob.mx/reinounido/images/stories/PDF/Meet_Mexico/2_meetmexico-symbolsofmexico.pdf. Accessed 7 April 2023.
- Trenda, Eloise. “Eco-friendly products people are willing to pay more for in Mexico 2019.” Statista, 28 September 2022, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1063667/mexico-willingness-pay-eco-friendly-products/. Accessed 7 April 2023.