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Earth Day 2010

by Maryjane Butters
| April 18, 2010 9:00 PM

This year, on April 22, people around the globe will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. More than just another half-hearted holiday marked by greeting cards and candy, Earth Day is rooted in a deep sense of environmental responsibility that bridges borders worldwide. It was founded in 1970 and has gained momentum ever since, inspiring awareness and appreciation for the land, air and water we all share. On a global scale, Earth Day ignites improvements in environmental policies and legislation. On a smaller and more personal level, it serves as a reminder that each of us can make one small change today that will contribute to greener generations to come.

Organizers of Earth Day 2010 have invoked a motto made famous by Mahatma Gandhi: "Be the change you want to see in the world." And if you ask me, an incredibly effective way to "be" a positive change is to gather together with a community of others who share your passion and commitment. There is power in numbers. That's why one of the most significant actions each of us can take this year is to get connected, adding our fuel to the fire of change and getting inspired by the ideas of other green-minded people in the process. Take a look at the following five ways to find a network where you can make connections to make a difference.

1. Join the Earth Day network

Earthday.net is a Web site where activists connect and organize Earth Day programs. The network is striving to encourage acts of environmental service, and at the top of the list is a Billion Acts of Green(TM), which is an effort to compile the green deeds of individuals, corporations and governments in order to spur world leaders to make green changes. The Earth Day Network is coordinating large and small-scale projects geared to lowering carbon footprints in conjunction with worldwide community organizations. A number of service activities are already in full swing, but a major series of projects is also being planned for the weekend before Earth Day (April 17 and 18, 2010). To get involved, visit www.earthday.net/earthday2010.

2. Be the "E"

Spearheaded by Earth Day New York, the "E Campaign" is out to give Earth Day a fresh face, inspiring a new generation of hope and commitment to its mission. Their motto, "Be the E," embodies Gandhi's message to "be the change," and it even has it own hand symbol -- three fingers held sideways to form an "E"! If you'd like to hop on the chic "E Campaign" bandwagon, visit Earth Day New York's Web site (www.earthdayny.ning.com) and create your own profile page to connect with other eco-enthusiasts. While you're at it, post a photo of yourself flashing the "E" sign. On the Web site, you'll be able to find local Earth Day events, educational resources and a handy calculator for figuring your carbon footprint.

3. Enter the Earth 911 contest

Earth911.com created a special "channel" on its Web site in honor of Earth Day. The channel not only features 40 tips about reducing, reusing and recycling, but also hosts a Twitter contest beginning March 29 and ending in a giveaway on Earth Day, April 22. Two tips are being released each day at www.earth911.com/earthday. Simply "Tweet" these tips to be entered into a drawing to receive eco-friendly prizes.

4. Make time for Earth Hour

On Saturday, March 27, 2010, the World Wildlife Fund's "Earth Hour" initiative created a revolutionary link between energy use and climate change by inspiring hundreds of millions of people to unite by turning off their lights in a statement of concern for our planet. According to Earth Hour, "Americans participated by turning off lights at home and watching 33 state governments and 55 iconic landmarks from the Las Vegas Strip to the Empire State Building go dark." Explore the Earth Hour Web site (www.myearthhour.org) to learn more about how we can join forces to make a difference between now and next year's Earth Hour.

5. Share Earth Day stories, ideas and inspiration

Starting April 19 at 9 p.m., PBS will air a special episode of their American Experience television series called "Earth Days." The moving 102-minute film illuminates the evolution of the American environmental movement, highlighting the revolutionary achievements of groundbreaking eco-activism in this country. The film premiered as a live social screening event on Facebook on April 11 in an effort to attract a new and expanded segment of concerned citizens, and a lively discussion has ensued. If you missed the online premiere, catch the television premiere or buy the DVD at www.pbs.org, then dive into the conversation at www.facebook./EarthDays. You can also share memories of Earth Days past with other PBS fans at www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/earthdays.

Copyright 2010, MaryJane Butters. Distributed by United Feature Syndicate Inc.

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