It pains me to say it, but Earth Day has become a gigantic greenwashing event. The other day I wrote about 7 Examples Of What Earth Day Isn’t About, but the hits keep coming. Adam over at Twilight Earth published a press release from shopping giant QVC that is basically about buying your way to “green”. I have gotten, on average, 15 PR emails a day for the last month or so trying to convince me that if I buy this, that, or the other thing, my Earth Day will be greener. From buying t-shirts in exchange for planting a tree to sending your parents an eco-friendly Earth Day card to the whopper of the week – a snowglobe with an earth inside it – companies are trying to make Earth Day into yet one more shopping day where the only way to participate is to buy more junk. This is exactly the opposite of what Earth Day was started for in the first place 40 years ago, and we have to claim it back before it turns into a Federal holiday.
As much as I would love for every day to be Earth Day around the world, we have a ways to go before everyone realizes just how much damage we do to our planet on a daily basis. So let’s use this day to educate and inform people… not go shopping. Know how you can really help Earth Day? Attend a clean up event in your community, go to a school and teach about sustainability, try out the local farmers market instead of heading to the big box grocery store. But you cannot buy a t-shirt or gadget and make a greener Earth Day. Don’t let Earth Day become a greenwash!