A Billion Acts of Green®
Earth Day Network’s goal of A Billion Acts of Green® pledged before the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, the so called Rio+20 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro this June is closing in on the finish line with more than 890,000,000 environmental actions already pledged. Individuals, governments, faith-based and civic organization and businesses around the world have registered their pledges.
This is the world’s largest environmental campaign to date, which started in 2010 in the months preceding the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. Earth Day is April 22 this year and EDN is using the day to promote the 2012 theme, Mobilize the Earth™.
“There are so many wonderful stories from this campaign, from the mother who started a recycling program in a small Louisiana town – to the guy who said that he broke up with his girlfriend because she wouldn’t recycle,” said Kathleen Rogers, president of Earth Day Network. “And once we reach a billion, we’re going to take all of them all to world leaders to show them the breadth of support for strong, coordinated action to protect the environment.”
Celebrities, including director James Cameron and actors Edward Norton and Leonardo DiCaprio who have all pledged Acts of Green.
Pledges Around the World
Pledges are across the spectrum – from Morocco pledging to plant one million trees to 40 government and village leaders in Afghanistan worked to implement recycling programs and educational programs about environmental sustainability, to simple individual acts such as eating local, pledging to recycle and to teaching children about protecting the earth for the future of their own children. Pledges don’t have to be huge. A simple pledge to turn off the lights when they aren’t needed or using your reusable grocery bag all add up to something big.
“This campaign is so moving because it highlights what people, governments and organizations can do every day to protect the environment; it gives people a chance to stand up and be counted, and all those little actions add up to something big,” said Rogers. “It’s hard to ignore a billion actions.”
According to earthday.org, “The A Billion Acts of Green® website quantifies acts of green through an easy-to-use online registration tool. Communities and organizers can register Earth Day events such as community environmental meetings, tree plantings, large-scale light bulb changes and workplace renewable energy retrofits. And individuals can register the actions they’re taking to protect the environment – from riding a bike instead of driving and washing laundry in cold water to planting a garden and volunteering with a community clean-up.
Other notable contributions to A Billion Acts of Green® from the website:
School Greenings: Earth Day Network has worked to retrofit 40 schools across the globe with green technologies and resources. From installing solar panels to planting school gardens, Earth Day Network helped these schools to significantly reduce their carbon footprints.
Ocean Conservancy: More than 10 million green acts came from the Ocean Conservancy, following their annual International Costal Clean-Up Day, which has seen nearly 9 million volunteers from 152 countries work to clean shores, streams, rivers and the ocean.
Siemens: As part of their 2010 corporate sponsorship, employees of Siemens completed 789,041 Acts of Green through the donation of thousands of generators, flashlights and skyhydrants to victims of the earthquake in Haiti.
Earth Hour: Millions participate in Earth Hour every year on March 26. Each person who turned off their lights is counted as an Act of Green.
200 Catholic Congregations contributed 100,000 Acts of Green through local service projects.
Earth Day Philippines: Through massive tree plantings, water projects, river clean-ups, recycling drives and school greenings, Earth Day Philippines contributed over 12 million Acts of Green.
Avatar Home Tree Initiative: Through a partnership with Twentieth Century Fox and the Avatar Blu Ray and DVD, Earth Day Network and 16 partners planted 1,006,639 trees in 16 countries, directly involving over 31,000 individuals.
Peace Corps: In partnership with the Peace Corps, Earth Day Network worked with local volunteers to implement environmental and civic education programs, tree-plantings, village clean-ups and recycling seminars in rural areas of Ukraine, Georgia, Albania and Paraguay, helping to build environmental awareness in some of the world’s most underserved communities.
P&G Future Friendly collected thousands of green acts at Earth Day on the National Mall and through support of Earth Day Network’s iPhone and Facebook apps.
Kolkata, India: Plans for a small series of sponsored events evolved into a nationwide presence, 17 cities large. Earth Day Network partnered with global and local NGOs and local government officials to coordinate city and village clean-ups, environmental rallies and educational programs for underprivileged children. Earth Day Network has now established an office in Kolkata.
In China, Roots and Shoots Shanghai planted 600,000 trees across inner Mongolia to preserve depleted rainforests. Educators hosted eco-fairs where students learned about the importance of sustainability.
In Louisiana, Green Light New Orleans worked to assist residents with the installation of free, energy-efficient light bulbs. They worked house by house and installed over 300,000 new bulbs across the city.
In Afghanistan, Earth Day Network worked with more than 40 government and village leaders across the country in environmental sustainability practices including recycling programs and the need for clean water and alternative energy.
In Kenya, Guatemala, and Haiti, Earth Day Network partner The Paradigm Project has committed to installing 5 million new fuel efficient stoves that fight off deforestation, respiratory disease, poverty and hunger.
In Mozambique, the president led a tree-planting initiative in schools across Maputo.
In Colombia, Earth Day Network partner Proyecto Tití worked to remove over 30 million plastic bags from the tropical forests of the region. The bags were then fashioned into reusable “Eco-Mochilas” tote bags and then sold by local villagers.
Growing out of the first Earth Day in 1970, Earth Day Network (EDN) works with over 22,000 partners in 192 countries to broaden, diversify and mobilize the environmental movement. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.