Our planet deserves more than just one day

Published 9:45 am Thursday, April 21, 2016

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have anything against Earth Day. I think it is great but hope it doesn’t allow people to lose sight of the fact we really need to celebrate our planet more than once a year.

Friday’s global celebration, now in its 46th year, has accomplished so much over the decades. Estimates show that more than 1 billion people participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world. I love that it is recognized in 196 countries and is a focal point of initiatives to protect our environment.

The downside is that, at least for the general public, it is something that goes mostly forgotten the other 364 days of the year. Earth Day is also perceived, at least by some, as nothing more than a political platform for “liberal tree-huggers and radical environmentalists,” to quote a local curmudgeon I once talked with about the event.

That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Earth Day is simply a day to raise awareness and have a public conversation about our planet, while also pitching in to make a difference across the world. The challenge is how we can use this as a launching pad for sustainable changes.

Thankfully, the organization Earth Day Network has faced this challenge head on for decades.

“This Earth Day and beyond, let’s make big stuff happen. Let’s plant 7.8 billion trees for the Earth. Let’s divest from fossil fuels and make cities 100 percent renewable,” the organization proclaims on its website. “Let’s take the momentum from the Paris Climate Summit and build on it. Let’s start now. And let’s not stop.”

The organization touts 2,023,256,478 “Acts of Green,” putting out the rallying cry for the world to help that number reach 3 billion.

Here are some other ideas the Earth Day Network offers on its website at earthday.org:


Be a Citizen Signer

By adding your name to the millions already calling for global climate action, we will remind leaders this agreement is a historic one, brought about by the actions of millions.


Track Your Online Energy Use

Download the “Earth Mode” Chrome extension to see how much energy you are using while browsing the Internet.


Reduce Your Footprint

Take the Ecological Footprint Quiz and learn how you can reduce your impact on the planet.


Eat Less Meat

The meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Help make a difference by limiting your meat consumption.


Buy Local Produce

Eat healthier and help reduce your carbon footprint by buying local produce. Take the pledge and we’ll show you how to find local produce near you.


End Junk Mail

Junk mail is not only a major inconvenience, it also has an extremely negative impact on the environment. Help reduce the amount of junk mail you receive.


Stop Using Disposable Plastic

Help end our obsession with plastic and protect the environment. Take the pledge to stop using disposable plastic.


Start Composting

More than a billion pounds of food are thrown away every year. Help make a difference by turning your food waste into soil.


Recycle your E-waste

Every year, thousands of old electronic devices are thrown into landfills, polluting the environment, when they can be recycled. Pledge to recycle your e-waste


Lots of local groups are working hard and best way to find them is social media. Or simply start your own event.

The earth is our most precious resource and making our planet a focus all year long protects it for our generation and generations to come.


Michael Caldwell is the publisher of Leader Publications LLC. He can be reached at (269) 687-7700 or by email at mike.caldwell@leaderpub.com.