Does EARTH Day Actually HELP?

By longstanding tradition, the 22nd of April is Earth Day. The brainchild of US Senator Gaylord Nelson and Harvard grad student Denis Hays, it was pioneered in 1970 as a way to raise awareness about the environmental costs of litter and toxic pollution. They hoped that the event would grow into a platform for public engagement and the promotion of so-called “green” issues onto the national agenda.

Twenty million people took to the streets in mass demonstrations in 1970.

The twentieth anniversary celebration in 1990 saw the event, backed by impressive amounts of corporate and media cash, turn global. According to organizers, atypical Earth Day now involves activities by over a billion people stretched across two hundred countries.

An Earth Day celebration, according to Kathleen Rogers who is the president of, is the first environmental action a lot of people engage in.

This year, the official theme is “Planet vs. Plastics.” The goal of this theme? To raise awareness of plastic pollution and drum up support for the current effort to ratify the UN Treaty on Plastics. The broad-reaching treaty, it is hoped, will further aspirations by the UK and other nations to end plastic pollution on Earth by 2040. The Earth Day organizers, however, wish to go a step further than this audacious goal, and curtail global plastic production by 60% in the same time period.

Earth Day supporters boast an impressive list of accomplishments. They credit their activism with the foundation of the US Environmental Protection Agency, the passage of America’s Clean Air Act, and significant advances in the regulatory state specifically around environmental issues.

Now their focus is international. The local environment is one thing, but managing the global environment presents massive governance problems, which can only be achieved through significant growth in International sovereignty, which, in turn, requires persistent and pronounced grass roots demand. Earth Day is a key leverage point for activists wishing to bring about a future of true global governance and comprehensive regulation.