After being involved with the environmental movement for my entire career and sentient life (longer than I like to admit), I have seen a few Earth Days come and go (pretty much all of them!). The analogy that springs to mind is Thanksgiving and Christmas: It comes every year and … each year we resolve to extend our acts of charity through the whole year, but usually around March, we get pulled back into our regularly scheduled chaos and giving falls down on the list.
This pattern has been the same for Earth Day: People come forward to express their concern for the planet and take action — usually in form of a local clean up or similar activity. The difference is that, today, green seems to be sticking.
We are literally bombarded with green messages every day. Recycling is no longer optional in most cities, Al Gore got the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on climate change and most 5th graders can explain how global warming works. Being against greening is tantamount to Luddite status in today’s eco-conscious world … to the point where even fair debate on this topic can be overly polarizing.
While Earth Day has been with us for 50 years, the tipping point for eco-consciousness is more recent.Think about using the word “sustainability” in a sentence in 2000 vs. today … Malcolm Gladwell coined the phrase “stickiness” to describe how certain trends get over the tipping point and become part of our collective experience. I will leave it to others to do the “Gladwell-esque” research to figure out the factors that have made green stick, but it is hard not to argue that being green is now a part of our lives.
Tim Mohin, Director of Corporate Responsibility, AMD