Some people would argue that the 20th-century concept of a single day of environmental activism, in a time when electric cars are becoming more popular and everybody seems to be recycling, is an anachronism.
In many ways, the Earth Day still practised in schools and parks resembles the early days. The event that falls each April 22 was started in 1970 by an environmentally minded U.S. Senator to perpetuate “consciousness raising.”
On that point, it would be hard to argue against success over the past 40 years.
The world was a different place back then: hairspray still contained chlorofluorocarbons, people smoked everywhere they felt like it, and there were no concerns about anything our vehicles emitted.
Four decades ago, the creation of Earth Day started the process of changing our way of thinking about the planet and in the education of future generations.
But in 2017, do we need Earth Day anymore? To be sure, we’ve got a long way left to go, but the lessons of 47 years are so ingrained in society that reducing, reusing, and recycling is second nature to individuals and corporations alike.
Maybe the point of Earth Day could be revised to celebrate how far we’ve come and remind us that continued environmental progress is the only path.