Is Earth Day Important?

Lifestyle | | April 22, 2010 at 8:14 am
Photo by Peter.

Photo by Peter.

Today marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day here in North America. The observance, introduced by US senator Gaylord Nelson, Harvard student Denis Hayes and well-known eco-activist Paul Erlich originated in the early 1970s during what the senator described as a crisis and call to global environmental awareness. Today, nearly 175 countries from all around the world celebrate this holiday by showing appreciation for environmental conscientiousness.

In light of the recent controversy surrounding the overstatement of global warming and discord among politicians I asked around, is Earth Day important? I spoke to students at US college campuses, parents of young children, a few of my patients and professional colleagues and here’s what thoughtful folks had to say:

Janesh, Los Angeles, CA, mother of two: The fact that we have more people than natural resources covering the globe has really pushed environmental consciousness into the mainstream. It’s no longer hippies and rich yuppies shopping at the farmer’s markets. I think earth day is important because it highlights the message that grassroots efforts really can make a big a ripple that flows far. If it weren’t for earth day my kids might not be eating the organic veggies and meat that are now abundantly available city-wide. 

Jamal C., Philadelphia, PA artist and student of urban development: Having lived in Philly my entire life we’re just now witnessing a major shift in community awareness. They’re still trying to figure out how to recycle in some parts, but without earth day our garbages and dumps would still be overflowing. It’s just too easy to recycle and reuse. Services should be available to every single person in America. 

Sintal G., Palm Beach, FL, father of three, astrophysicist: I’m a bit skeptical about earth day although at the end of the day it delivers an amazing message we’ve been building as a national community since the 1970′s. When organic food and healthy eating loses its somewhat elitist undertones and is readily available to all levels of society that will be the true celebration of earth day.

Liz B., London, UK, professor of agricultural studies: Being a mother of two little kids in an overcrowded city I try to celebrate earth day everyday with my boys. Joy is only three, but already knows what items go in the blue recycling box! I think getting your kids involved and exposed to all aspects of the community in which you live will help them understand the global message of protecting the planet as they grow. We’re celebrating this year by planting a new tree!

Kim P., San Francisco, expecting mother UCLA school of medicine: Is Earth Day important? Of course it is! Are people actually responding that it’s not? As population density keeps increasing, this observance is more important than ever. For a society that claims to have some of the best health care on the planet it’s ironic that we still have so many sick people here. The Earth Day message is one that makes us stop if only for a moment to remind us that health care is earth care!

Looking for a fun way to celebrate earth day?

  • Plant a tree or garden with your kids.
  • Replace your current cleaning products with eco-friendly choices
  • Get friends together for a city-wide recycling clean up. Talk to people on the streets about what you’re up to
  • Start taking shorter showers
  • Participate in a learning activity about the environment at a local university or library
  • Skip the plastic at the grocery store
  • Ride your bike

ChristineChristine M. Dionese L.Ac. specializes in integrative medicine, medical journalism and was the VP of marketing at WellWire LLC. Visit her wellness and lifestyle blog, Reaching Beyond Now.

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