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Sustainability

Have the ideals of Earth Day been lost?

April 22, 2010
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WASHINGTON — When Earth Day first began in 1970, there were no corporate sponsorships or onslaughts of products purporting to be sold in honor of a day of environmental preferredness, according to the New York Times.
Forty years later, Earth Day has turned into a premier marketing platform for selling a variety of goods and services to eco-minded consumers, the story stated.
Denis Hayes, who was the national coordinator of the first Earth Day, said: "This ridiculous, perverted marketing has cheapened the concept of what is really green. It is tragic."
While the momentum for the first Earth Day came from grassroots and counterculture organizers, many spokespersons say that it is often the corporate business community that now leads the way in environmental innovation, the story noted.
Regardless of the intentions of Earth Day celebrators, many companies are hosting events, reducing their carbon footprints and starting sustainability campaigns on this day because it is when "people are paying attention," the story added.
Robert Stone, an independent documentary filmmaker, said: "Every Earth Day is a reflection of where we are as a culture. If it has become commoditized, about green consumerism instead of systemic change, then it is a reflection of our society."
According to the story, while Earth Day is not as celebrated as enthusiastically as in years'' past — the original Earth Day events were attended by 20 million Americans — its role in raising awareness of environmental, pollution and sustainability issues is undeniable.
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