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One Pale Blue Dot: How Earth Day Unites Us

Twenty-seven years ago, the wonderful PBS series “Cosmos,” hosted by astronomer Carl Sagan, concluded with an image of our solar system as seen from the Voyager 1 exploratory satellite—and of Earth, a pale blue dot in the vastness of space. Sagan movingly shared his thoughts on that tiny dot. Somehow, in the years since that photograph was taken and relayed back to Earth, some of us have forgotten just how rare and fragile all that we know and love is in the inconceivably immense universe. Earth Day is our annual reminder.

Many Americans are upset about efforts by a new federal administration to deliberately reverse decades of environmental protections aimed at preserving our pale blue dot for future generations. So regardless of your political affiliations, you may be looking for ways to make a positive contribution on Earth Day.

April 22—a date that holds greater significance with each passing year—falls on a Saturday this year, which means it will be much easier for many people to participate in area events. It is an opportunity for ad agencies to give back to their communities, participate in client-sponsored events, demonstrate their own green credentials—and just enjoy the return of Spring. Here are some thoughts for joining in your local community and regional activities.

Take Action

On Earth Day 2017, many groups have committed to activism, or simply to local efforts to promote environmental responsibility. Check A Billion Acts of Green for local events you might join, or post your own effort and invite your network to pitch in. You’ll also find resources for promoting your event and environmental literacy at EarthDay.org. Go as a group for some team bonding.

March

The March for Science is scheduled for April 22 in Washington, D.C., in response to what many see as a government that actively disdains science. The very existence of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is in question, with the appointment of an anti-EPA director and the threat of an enormous reduction in funding. The Trump administration has already acted to overturn decades of forward progress in the fight for clean air, water, renewable energy, recycling and sustainability, and just signed an executive order seeking to overturn many Obama-era environmental orders and decisions. In addition, a new Secretary of the Interior is on record as wanting to open National Parks and federal lands to drilling, lumbering and corporate exploitation; and the historic international climate change agreement to reduce CO2 production could be in danger if Congress supports President Trump’s anti-climate change actions. March for Science satellite events are scheduled around the nation. Find an event near you, and get involved.

Visit a National Park

National Park Week, sponsored by the National Park Foundation, is April 15-23, encompassing Earth Day. Many parks plan special programs and lots have Junior Ranger events for youngsters. Look up your area parks and learn what’s happening.

Plant a tree

Not feeling the activist bug? Do something for your neighborhood by planting a tree. EarthDay.org sponsors The Canopy Project, a global effort to help communities meet reforesting goals. But you can also host or sponsor tree plantings in your own community. Check with area nurseries to see if they are interested in participating, and contact area schools to find out if planting activities have been scheduled.

Promote Your Efforts!

Many voices combined can make a lot of noise in support of environmental action and policy-making. Whatever you decide to do for Earth Day, promote it on social media and through PR. Invite business connections and families to join your efforts. Or, if you plan to support client Earth Day activities, make sure to cross-promote their efforts.

Small actions matter, too. Whether you go big or just spend the afternoon planting a new shade tree in your backyard, remember to think about our pale blue dot on April 22. For the foreseeable future, this dot is all we have. Let’s take care of it together.

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