On April 22, we will celebrate Earth Day for the forty-first consecutive year.
Originally focused on environmental awareness in the United States, the concept went global in 1990.
Now, Earth Day is recognized in 175 countries with more than 500 million individuals participating in organized events, parades and other festivities with the hope of increasing the collective conscience of Earth''s inhabitants as to ways to protect our precious resources.
The idea is so novel that, in 2009, the United Nations officially designated April 22 as International Mother Earth Day.
Many sustainability-minded groups take the Earth Day concept one step further and celebrate Earth Week from April 16 through April 22.
Grassroots in nature, Earth Day celebrations are catered to environmental concerns in various neighborhoods and regions around the world.
As with any thought or movement, there is an opposing viewpoint.
Some argue that Earth Day has become somewhat of a “Hallmark holiday,” outgrowing its usefulness as an educational endeavor.
A May 5, 2009, editorial in the New York Times titled “Arbor vs. Earth Day” likened Earth Day to a pessimistic, political ideology that portrayed humans in a negative light.
Arguments surfaced that Earth Day plundered the traditional date of Arbor Day, transforming a happy, non-political celebration of trees into a demonization of corporate America.
There are also arguments that every day should be a sustainable celebration of Earth without the commercialization.
While today''s Earth Day may not be the environmental teach-in envisioned by Gaylord Nelson, a former U.S. Senator from the state of Wisconsin, it still serves a purpose and is effective at opening people''s eyes to the frailty of our planet.
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