Am I the only one who thinks Earth Day needs a bit of a branding update? Issues of sustainability and environmentalism are even more important today than they were in the 90’s, when I was growing up. Yet my perception of Earth Day is on par with School House Rock and the old Chrysler minivan my mom drove to soccer practice with the fake wood paneling on the side. Today, cities and colleges - led by passionate residents and students - are having a very sophisticated discussion around sustainability that doesn’t just happen once a year
in April. If we’re being honest the “reduce, reuse, recycle” arrows don’t cut it anymore. I see it right here in my home base of Charleston, SC.
Communities are thinking holistically about how to regulate reductions in plastic usage, how microtransit solutions like ride and bike sharing can not only solve mobility challenges, but greatly reduce CO2 emissions in the process, and how smart cities can aesthetically beautify our world, make our daily processes easier, and minimize our footprint for future generations. I’m excited to see innovation and technology leading on a lot of our environmental challenges, just as I’m energized by the physical and digital communities mobilized around these issues. I want the “brand” of Earth Day to be as kinetic and modern as the companies, people, and emerging technologies leading the charge on actually making an impact, but it doesn’t come close.
Then again, maybe it’s a good thing that Earth Day as a concept feels antiquated. Our environmental challenges can’t be addressed one day, week, or month a year. Instead, we need daily investments in sustainable systems that work for the long term.
I encourage everyone reading this to do something for tomorrow, today. Find a local organization that is mobilized on the ground and find ways to get involved, call your city council and advocate for smart transit solutions (like a bike share system!), or go plant a tree like the PSA’s from the 90’s told us. Hopefully, future generations will wonder why we ever needed an Earth Day in the first place.