If you have any sense of wonder or faith in humanity, you would have to agree that Earth Day is an extraordinary event. It combines the functions of educator, movement builder and the largest public service project in the world. More than one billion people from almost every single country on Earth will take an action in service to our planet.
Hands down, Earth Day is the largest secular event in the world -- and more people join in every year. Men, women and children will haul garbage, clean up coral reefs and mountain trails, show movies, sign petitions, march to solve the climate crises, hold town hall meetings to plan a better future, and rally to save the great apes, dwindling tigers, embattled elephants and other threatened species. More than 100 million schoolchildren around the world will learn about the importance of clean air and water; thousands of federal, state, and local governments will issue reports about their environmental achievements and records and make pledges to improve their environmental performance and invest in green technology; and tens of thousands of clergy members will give sermons about the importance of protecting God's creation.
In short, Earth Day participants not only get alot done, they also demonstrate that human beings everywhere are driven by their faith, their conscience, their sense of duty, or by a moral imperative to save the planet. It is staggering to think about one billion people working together in a collective action.
Much is being written these days about the first Earth Day and the need to replicate the power of April 22, 1970, when 20 million people in the U.S. took to the streets to protest the ravages of the industrial revolution, followed quickly by landmark environmental laws and regulations, and accompanied by a shift in political fortunes of those who stood in the way of the environmental movement. The wonder of that first Earth Day, held in an era of social change and action, was that it wasn't a campus movement. Not one bit. Everybody was enlisted -- from mayors to garden clubs to churches to labor groups to women's organizations. As a result, it became everybody's movement.
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