Is Earth Day a Wash?

By Staff
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Maybe you’re dreading Earth Day. If you’re aware of the colossal problems facing the environment and are already trying to minimize your carbon footprint, Earth Day can seem tiring and pointless.

Writing for AdAge, Natalie Zmuda argues that Earth Day has become a commercialized holiday for which corporations dress themselves up as eco-friendly to drive profits. “It’s nearly Earth Day: Time to consume more to save the planet,” Zmuda writes. “It seems that just about everyone has found a way to attach themselves to what is fast becoming a marketing holiday that barely resembles the grassroots event founded in 1970.”

But Lloyd Alter at TreeHugger doesn’t think we should give up on Earth Day just yet. “Sixty percent of Americans believe that global warming has begun to affect the climate,” Alter writes. “That is enough to change a government, and we should take every Earth Day to encourage the small incremental changes in people that add up to an environmentally aware majority that understands the impacts of their actions and behavior.”

The folks at Earth Day Network agree. It’s unclear how many people will celebrate Earth Day in 2008, but Earth Day Network estimates its campaigns alone involve half a billion people worldwide each year. That’s half a billion chances to increase support for environmental programs. Many people will observe the holiday with one-time events like concerts and rallies, but some programs will have a broader impact. The city of San Francisco will begin allowing residents to recycle more types of plastics for regular home pick-up, including toys and containers not traditionally recycled.

If you want to join in on the festivities, check out search engines from the Environmental Protection Agency, Earth Day Network, and Envirolink to find an event near you. And for those who want to stay green after April 22 has come and gone, check out TreeHugger’s Go Green Guides for extensive tip sheets on how to green all aspects of your life.

Sarah Pumroy

Image by Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Laboratory, licensed under Wikimedia Commons.

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