This year, the Earth Day Network, an organization that grew out of the first Earth Day some 40 years ago, has set out on an ambitious goal of registering a billion acts of green. From switching light bulbs to starting an organic garden, the EDN hopes to channel the efforts of individuals to promote worldwide change.
Seemingly following the mantra of ‘nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something’, the Earth Day Network is showing just how easy it is for people to make a difference. Already over 100 million people have registered acts like taking shorter showers, riding a bike to work, and buying products that don’t use harsh chemicals and pesticides. While these acts seem small scale on their own, they add up to major change.
As stated by Sean Miller, Education Director at the Earth Day Network:
“Earth Day Network’s Billion Acts of Green™ campaign – the theme of Earth Day 2011 – is a global effort to drive voluntary actions to improve our environment. It encourages individuals and organizations to undertake acts of environmental service and advocacy, and to share them with the world. These actions can be immediate changes like switching to energy efficient light bulbs, or large-scale projects that achieve lasting change, such as efforts to green our cities and our schools.”
And the change is real. Not only do these acts help the environment by promoting energy efficiency, resource awareness, and personal sustainability, but they also bring people together in one of the largest environmental advocacy campaigns in the world. Without a doubt, this helps raise our social capital by encouraging community engagement.
Miller continued, “All commitments to A Billion Acts of Green™ share the common thread of people working together to build a greener future. The campaign seeks to reach A Billion Acts of Green™ in advance of the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janiero, Brazil in June 2012, as tangible evidence that people all over the world are working to protect the Earth.”
It is with this show of widespread support and advocacy, then, that we can see real movement in policy. However, we must also realize that to achieve this change, each one of us must make a conscious effort to take action. Miller offered a clarion call for anyone with hopes of doing so:
“For this Earth Day, we encourage you to upload your act of green to Earth Day Network’s site: http://act.earthday.org/. If you are feeling generous on Mother Earth’s designated birthday, any funds donated to today will go to Earth Day Network’s Green Schools Campaign, which seeks to green America’s schools within a generation. The donations will specifically help fund the construction of several school gardens in the Washington, D.C. Metro area this summer by the Earth Day Network’s Education team.”