Earth Day

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Earth Day was April 22, 1970, when for the first time millions of Americans demonstrated, rallied, held teach-ins and other events in support of a healthier, cleaner and sustainable natural environment. This original Earth Day teach-in was the idea of Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson who was inspired by and copied the anti-war teach-ins on American campuses held by students opposing the US war against Vietnam.

Since the first Earth Day annual observances have waxed and waned depending on the public's level of concern and interest in environmental issues.

The international coordinator for the 1990 and 2000 Earth Day's was Mark Dubois. [1]

Earth Day and Corporations

This year, 2010, marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. It is interesting to note how Earth Day has evolved. Compared to the first Earth Day, a lot has changed in 40 years; specifically, corporations have been able to cash in on the hype of Earth Day by advertising and promoting various products. [2] "So strong was the antibusiness sentiment for the first Earth Day in 1970 that organizers took no money from corporations and held teach-ins to challenge corporate and government leaders.” [3] In contrast, today's Earth Day has allowed corporations to use the day as a marketing platform. For example, "F. A. O. Schwarz is taking advantage of Earth Day to showcase Peat the Penguin, an emerald-tinted plush toy that, as part of the Greenzys line, is made of soy fibers and teaches green lessons to children. The penguin, Greenzys promotional material notes, “is an ardent supporter of recycling, reusing and reducing waste.” [4] "Gray Line, a New York City sightseeing company, will keep running its buses on fossil fuels, but it is promoting an “Earth Week” package of day trips to green spots like the botanical gardens and flower shopping at Chelsea Market." [5]

Ardent supporters of Earth Day are disturbed by this new trend. “This ridiculous perverted marketing has cheapened the concept of what is really green,” said Denis Hayes, who was national coordinator of the first Earth Day and is returning to organize this year’s activities in Washington. “It is tragic.” [6] It is also worth noting the increasing number of environmental groups who have sought out sponsorship and partnership from corporations, albeit green corporations. This Earth Day, Greenpeace has partnered with Cisco and Google to "hold a Web seminar focused on how the use of new technologies like videoconferencing and “cloud” computing can reduce the nation’s carbon footprint." [7] Daniel Kessler, a spokesman for Greenpeace, said it was necessary to “promote a counterweight to the fossil fuel industry.” [8]

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. Who we are, Green World Campaign, accessed October 15, 2008.
  2. Leslie Kaufman,"On 40th Anniversary, Earth Day is Big Business,","New York Times," April 21, 2010.
  3. Id.
  4. Id.
  5. Id.
  6. Leslie Kaufman,"On 40th Anniversary, Earth Day is Big Business,","New York Times," April 21, 2010.
  7. Id.
  8. Id.

External Articles

Green Critiques of the Green Movement

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