Small lake in Karula National Park, Valgamaa County, Estonia
© Sven Zacek/Minden Picture
Eye of the world. Earth Day
For this year's Earth Day we find ourselves floating above Karula National Park, the smallest national park in the smallest Baltic nation. Visiting this jewel of Estonia feels appropriate for Earth Day, as it is home to a variety of endangered species, including animals such as the pond bat, the lesser spotted eagle, and the black stork. Rare plants thrive here, too, like the endangered Baltic orchid, mezereon, and daisyleaf grape fern. In addition to the draw of its biodiversity, Karula is a popular spot for camping, adventure tourism, fishing, nature photography, hiking, and cycling.
The very first Earth Day was on this day in 1970, when some 20 million Americans rallied in communities across the United States to raise awareness of environmental issues. The landmark event is credited for sparking passage in the 1970s of the most comprehensive environmental reform legislation in US history, including the creation of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Earth Day is now celebrated in nearly 200 countries and has grown to include Earth Week and even Earth Month celebrations. That's good news for Earth's residents, big and small.