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Earth Day 2008: Action Around the World!

Earth Day 2008 was an overwhelming success and helped move the needle substantially on the climate change issue. A diverse coalition helped raise the bar for climate action and Earth Day Network’s Call for Climate rallied millions across the country and across the globe. Tens of thousands called their government to ask for tough and fair action on climate change, and took action in their own lives to reduce their carbon footprint. Now more than ever, Earth Day has put the climate change issue at the forefront of public policy and has set the stage for global political action.

In the U.S. the momentum from Call for Climate will be carried into the next year as Congress considers proposals to reduce greenhouse gases, which we will be working to strengthen. Already, the Presidential candidates are discussing this important issue.

In the U.S., some 320,000 people turned out for the eight Earth Day events in major cities plus club events over the weekend of April 19 and 20, co-produced by Green Apple Festival and sponsored by Chase. In Washington DC, 50,000 came out to hear inspirational speakers such as Chevy Chase, Edward Norton, Thomas Friedman, and James Hansen of NASA deliver a strong global warming message and call for tough and fair climate action by Congress. Top-tier talent such as O.A.R., Umphrey’s McGee, Warren Haynes, Mambo Sauce and Blake Lewis of American Idol entertained enthusiastic crowds, and the event was covered live by CNN and The Weather Channel.

Tens of thousands also turned out in New York, Miami, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles and San Francisco to hear global warming speakers and artists like Joan Baez, Los Lonely Boys, the Neville Brothers and Ricky Scaggs and Kentucky Thunder. Kathleen Rogers, president of Earth Day Network and other staff urged crowds to call the switchboard number of Congress on Earth Day as part of the Call for Climate.

In an effort to bring together environmental awareness and public art, ten globes from the Cool Globes exhibit were on display at the National Mall. The globes will be in Washington, DC throughout the summer and then auctioned-off to benefit Earth Day Network’s Green Schools program.

A highlights video program will be coming to Earth Day TV in the next few weeks! Earth Day Network’s campus program had a record 1,100 campuses rally behind Earth Day this year, and tens of thousands of students joined the Call for Climate and signed Sky Petition, which calls for a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants, renewable energy, efficient buildings and protection for the poor and middle class in the new green economy. At Earth Day events across the country hundreds of students signed up to vote in the upcoming elections, creating a new green youth voting force. Earth Day Network exceeded its goal for the campus Presidents’ climate challenge with 539 campuses signing the pledge for carbon neutrality and investment in the new energy future.

EDN also ran a media campaign urging editorial cartoonists to use global warming themes for Earth Day. During Earth Week, editorial cartoonists around the US published environment-themed cartoons to raise awareness about the lack of action on global warming. Earth Day Network’s thousands of partner organizations around the world also rallied millions to demand a cleaner, healthier environment in their communities and to spur action on global warming. From Barcelona, where 100,000 people attended the Earth Fair, to Pakistan, where a school commemorated Earth Day with educational activities for their students, Earth Day 2008 succeeded in bringing together people from all backgrounds, faiths and nationalities with a strong message of action for our planet.

Also during Earth Week, Earth Day Network’s staff was hard at work on school greening projects in Denver, Chicago and New York, co-produced by Green Apple Festival and sponsored by Chase. At Denver’s Ellis Elementary, volunteers created an outdoor classroom with a garden of native species, monitored water and air quality, and addressed energy efficiency and waste in the cafeteria. Earth Day Network installed an 8-panel solar energy system that will save the school $48,000 over the next 30 years. In Chicago, students at Percy Julian High School held an “Earth Fair” with displays including solar panels that the school will be installing, organic fruits and part of a green roof that Earth Day Network hopes to place on the school building. In New York, students at Merrick Academy were greeted by a new “living wall” made of plants that filter air and water, and students helped paint an eco-mural using “green” paint. Some 3,000 students and faculty were exposed to key environmental issues through these events. Green schools will help improve students’ well-being and academic performance, while reducing the impact on the environment.

Earth Day Network reached out to the religious community this Earth Day by bringing attention to our environmental message. The opening of our Earth Day 2008 event in Washington, DC featured a religious convocation with leaders from the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish faiths. In light of the opportunity provided by Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the United States this year, Earth Day Network reached out to Roman Catholic parishes across the country, inviting them to participate in Earth Day Sunday, April 20, 2008.
Earth Day Network reached out to thousands of parishes, and the response was overwhelming. Many churches pledged to join Earth Day Sunday ceelebrations by including climate change and equitable sustainability in their homilies, post information in their weekly bulletins, and/or offer intentions for the environment during Mass; others filled us in on their year-round parish green programs. Many parishes enacted environmental measures, such as the Church of the Holy Spirit in Tempe, AZ, which posted information in their weekly bulletin for Earth Day Sunday and limited their electricity usage in the church.
For more information, visit http://www.earthday.net/
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