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The day after Earth Day

April 22, 2009

Yesterday was one of my favorite days: Earth Day! But today is the day after Earth Day, so why I am still talking about it?

On April 22nd ever year, it is popular to talk about how great the environment is and how much we should be doing to end climate change, protect endangered species, promote clean energy, and the like. And on April 23rd, we move on to other things and we all pat ourselves on the back for being such good environmentalists on Earth Day.

Along the same lines, greenwashing has also become a hip, new trend, as this Earth Day comic indicates. This is especially true of advertising. Every product and every company is trying to convince us that they are “green”. (One of my pet peeves is seeing ads in the metro station from Chevron asking me to go green…I don’t need an oil company telling me how to save the environment.) The greenwashing of politicians’ speeches is also a growing epidemic. And yet, despite the cacophany of voices claiming to be green, the kind of massive, system change that we need seems far from realization.

The point of all of this is to say that I don’t want to just add to the mass of people trying to capitalize on the “green revolution.” So I am going to ask us to do something different this year. On this day, the day after Earth Day, I am asking us to take seriously the plea to make every day Earth Day.

Yesterday, Obama made his Earth Day speech proclaiming: “My Administration is also working to achieve a comprehensive energy and climate policy, one that will lessen our dependence on foreign oil, make the U.S. the global leader in clean energy technology, and prevent the worst impacts of climate change. “

The President is encouraging action. And Congress is moving toward action on climate legislation….Finally! A first draft of climate change legislation, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 was released. Now WE must act! The proposed legislation needs to be improved by leaving out the carbon trading and simply capping carbon emissions. Congress also needs to ensure that the revenue from this system is returned to consumers. Take the opportunity today to show that you care about the earth every day by writing your members of Congress, encouraging them to pass climate legislation with these improvements.

Write your letter here!

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