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Earth Day 2012
Washington, DC. It is now 42 years since Earth Day was first launched, serving as an ongoing reminder of the struggle to protect the environment from the onslaught of impacts from modern industrial civilization's insatiable appetites and wasteful habits. Earth Day Network once again has organized the big celebration on the National Mall in conjunction with events taking place in other locations around the world. Earth Day Network reports participation by over one billion people in 192 countries while also reporting on reaching the goal of one billion acts of green.
However the struggle to build the sustainability movement has a new challenge. Unfortunately here in the United States Americans' attitude about the environment is declining. A recent Harris poll reveals that only one in three adult Americans (34%) say they are concerned about the planet we are leaving behind for future generations, a ten percent decrease since 2009 (43%). Some of this is the result of persistant anti-environmental campaigning by conservative media such as the Washington Times and Fox News as well as cynicism and fatigue on the progressive side, skeptical of greenwashing and commercialization, as seen in this Earth Day article from Grist and this eighth grader's explanation for why he did not participant in Earth Day.
Clearly this is a time for a renewal of efforts and vision as to what the world needs now.
2012 marks an important point for reflection on the lessons of the past 20 years and how we will address the challenge of the next 20. The Rio+20 meeting coming up this June provides a historic opportunity for sustainabilitiy allies to come together and develop the vision, commitments, collaboration and strategies for meeting this challenge.