Earth Day 2011: From Picnics to a Billion Acts of Green


Going green may not be as easy as a walk in the park, but it may be a picnic if the Nature Conservancy’s Earth Day theme pans out. Picnic for the Planet is a “celebration of the planet we live on, the food it provides and the people we share it with. In short, the planet does a lot for us — we should take it out for lunch.”

More than just an appeal to foodies and organic eaters, the organization’s goal is to encourage people to eat outdoors on April 22nd “to enjoy good food in the company of great people” — and, of course, notice and appreciate nature. Pleasant, but hardly the call to action and eco-rallying that spurred the first Earth Day in 1970.[more]

But then, that’s the whole point, as Earth Day organizers have evolved beyond one massive day of protest to new messaging that “a billion acts of green” year-round can be more effective.

In fact, you may not have realized that the official Earth Day movement rebranded. Last year, for the 40th anniversary, “Earth Day Network reestablished Earth Day as a powerful focal point around which people could demonstrate their commitment. Earth Day Network brought 225,000 people to the National Mall for a Climate Rally, amassed 40 million environmental service actions toward its 2012 goal of A Billion Acts of Green®, launched an international, 1-million tree planting initiative with Avatar director James Cameron and tripled its online base to over 900,000 community members.” 

Perfomers at last year’s 40th anniversary celebration included Sting, The Roots, Jon Legend, director James Cameron, the first Earth Day organizer (Denis Hayes), and US Congressman Ed Markey:

The goal, of course, is to make every day Earth Day (you’ll no doubt hear a lot about “Earth Month” throughout April) and a year-round movement, which is why — for example — in December the Earth Day organizers launched a smartcar sweepstakes for which the grand prize was “two smart fortwo cars, which were donated by SCA, a global hygiene products and paper company and leader in sustainability.”

The Earth Day Network also, naturally, is active on Twitter and Facebook to inspire and promote year-round “acts of green,” such as Audubon and Toyota’s Pennies for the Planet initiative.

Tell us: What’s your company or brand doing for Earth Day? And how to get involved or sponsor eco-friendly activities without it appearing like greenwashing?