Our Thinking

Ode to Our Planet: Earth Week

The author in the field gathering stakeholder input

Thoughts and Call-to Action from Robin K. Liebowitz, RKL3D

Earth Day or, in fact, what has become Earth Week, is a rare example of the successful coalescing of local, global, public and private interests toward a common good. I was awed as this weekend kicked off Earth Week, at how significantly Earth Day has expanded. Senator Gaylord Nelson introduced the idea in 1970. From its beginnings then, the concept today is broadly embraced.

Earth Day came about as a way to increase awareness of environmental issues facing the planet and heighten their importance to the national agenda. This mission inspired 20 million Americans to demonstrate in cities across the country. As an outcome of the first Earth Day rallies, Congress later that year authorized the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  For those interested in Earth Day and environmental history, you may want to test your knowledge through this quiz.  https://worldhistoryproject.org/quizzes/earth_day

This year, Earth Day will be highly significant for its link to a momentous global climate agreement. President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping issued a statement that they will sign the Paris Climate Agreement on April 22  – the official Earth Day. Also of note, leading up to the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in 2020, the Earth Day Network has made a pledge. It will plant 7.8 billion trees worldwide to account for every person living on Earth.

Earth Week is a good time to refocus our attention. It doesn’t matter what we do, but that we do. From new plantings to local community clean-up projects, enactment of more progressive environmental laws or the debut of environmentally friendly technologies, Earth Week has a broad mission. The aim: caring for the environment and reminding ourselves that when interests align across stakeholder groups, we can move forward issues of global importance.

We have much to learn about how we all can continue to partner across the local-global -public-private-non-profit spheres to progress the mission of Earth Day and other critical global initiatives. Here are some pictures from my Earth Week experiences, which may provide interesting insights. Please share your stories and images so that we can think about new ways to advance Earth Week and related global pursuits.

Click images to enlarge and see captions