EDITOR’S NOTE: We’re so honored to be able to share this guest post with you all. It comes to us from writer, environmentalist and 350.org founder, Bill McKibben. I can’t think of a better way to help us celebrate this 40th anniversary of Earth Day, than with a post from Bill. Prepare to be inspired…
Never imagine that you’re in the minority
By Bill McKibben
In some ways, Earth Day +40 is a tough moment–we’re not making the progress we need on the biggest problems we face, most of all global warming. The Congress has a 20-year unblemished bipartisan record of doing nothing; now the Senate is about to consider a truly bad bill. It sometimes seems like environmentalists are a small and uninfluential minority.
But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Most people , in this country and the world over, understand the problems we face; poll after poll shows broad agreement that we need to take action, and that we’re ready to pay more to make it happen. When we ran a day of political action last fall for 350.org people staged 5,200 demonstrations in 181 nations, which is pretty much all the countries there are except for North Korea. Most of the people who participated were poor, black, brown, Asian, and young, because that’s what most of the world is. We had whole rallies composed of women in chadors, or evangelical Christians; some were underwater or on top of lofty mountains. If you ever for one minute feel like you’re alone in this fight, check out the pictures of what CNN called the ‘most widespread day of political action in the planet’s history.’ On any topic, at any time.
So why aren’t we winning yet? Because we’re up against the most profitable industry in the planet’s history. Exxon made more money each of the last three years than any company in the history of money. The coal companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars on politics and advertising. So far that’s been enough to stall and delay. Which is why it’s important to make a big noise on Earth Day, and even more crucial to circle October 10 in your calendar (that would be 10/10/10). We’ll be holding a Global Work Party–in every nation (except probably North Korea again) people will be putting up solar panels and digging community gardens and taking other practical actions. Not because we can solve global warming that way–we can’t, because what we need is legislation that will reset the price of fossil fuel. But we can use it as a day to send a message to our leaders: We’re getting to work–what about you? If we can hammer in solar panels, you can hammer out legislation. If we can get up on the roof and work, you can get up on the floor of the Senate and work.
Forty years is a long time to wait. Let’s get to it.
**More Care2 Earth Day Coverage**
ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING EARTH DAY:
- Come Celebrate Earth Day with Care2! – Nicole Nuss
- Seven Ways to Get Involved for Earth Day – Beth Buczynski
- Get Out! For a Free Book Giveaway! – Judy Molland
- Now is the Time – Angel Flinn
- Don’t Toss that Plastic Bottle – Jennifer Mueller
- White House Initiative – Dave Rochlin
HOW ARE ANIMALS AFFECTED?
- Top Ten Endangered Species – Sharon Seltzer
- A Review of Disneynature’s Oceans – Beth Buczynski
- Eating as if the Earth Matters – Heather Moore
THINGS TO PONDER
- Four Rules To Save The Planet – Nancy Roberts
- Earth…Gay? Coming Out for Sustainability – Steve Williams
- Family Planning and Earth Day – JamieAlexis Fowler
- All My Sisters: Avoiding Breast Cancer – Angel Flinn
- Humans are the Earth’s Problem AND its Solution – Beth Buczynski
- Earth Day at 40: The Politics Erupt – Gillian Caldwell
- Gambling with Global Warming – Beth Buczynski
THOSE MAKING A DIFFERENCE
- 2010 Goldman Environmental Awards – Nancy Roberts
- Climate Champion Dr. James Hansen – Nicole Nuss
- Boyd Cohen’s Quest to Offset Carbon – Suzi Parrasch
- 350.org’s Bill McKibben – Nicole Nuss
- Reverb’s Adam Gardner – Nicole Nuss
photo credit: Nancie Battaglia