Earth Day is Pure Love

A couple of years ago, watching the critically acclaimed television series MadMen, one of the episodes shocked me. The main character, Don Draper, takes his family on a rare day out in a park close to their neighborhood. When it was time to leave, the last thing he did before heading to his car was shaking their picnic blanket, spreading and leaving behind all the trash they had produced in a couple of hours, including food leftovers, paper boxes, and beverage cans.

I was astonished but not surprised. The TV series depicts the late-50s, and environment preservation was still not a significant issue. But not for too long. An important event helped quickly change people’s minds. In 1969, an oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, brought the horrors of an environmental tragedy to people’s homes: they watched on TV animals dying stuck in an oil mud.

Senator Gaylord Nelson, for long concerned about the deteriorating environment in the United States and inspired by the student anti-war movement, proposed the idea of a teach-in on college campuses. He recruited Denis Hayes, a young activist, to organize it, and soon, they had a team of 85 students working on it. The name Earth Day was a suggestion from a progressive Madison Avenue advertisement professional who stopped by and offered to help. And they choose April 22, a weekday falling between Spring Break and Final Exams, to maximize student participation.

The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970 and had the participation of around 20 million Americans around the country. In 1990 the celebration had already become global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries, and nowadays, it mobilizes about 1 billion people in 191 countries. Still in 1970, the movement led to the passing of some important pieces of environmental legislation in the United States, such as the Clean Air Act, the Water Quality Improvement Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act, and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act and the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency - EPA, tasked with protecting human health and safeguarding the natural environment - air, water, and land.

I think that sometimes it’s normal to question how powerful our individual contributions are in protecting our environment and this spectacular planet where we live. When you look around, you may feel discouraged. Oil-based fuels still power most cars, pollution is still high, and we are not producing less trash. But the truth is that we do have the power.

At Kotae, we express our love for Mother Earth in two ways. First, by printing our cards in forest-certified paper from forests managed responsibly, according to sustainable forestry practices that prevent forest and soil degradation, water pollution by hazardous chemicals, and workforce accidents. The forests provide clean air in a diverse environment of animals, trees, and other plants and create safe work opportunities for local communities. Second, by packaging our items in recycled and compostables materials.

Maybe you don’t have your own business and can’t make some choices as I made. But as a citizen of this world, there is a bunch of things you can do yourself:

. take care of your own waste: don’t throw garbage in the streets and respect the rules for recycling where you live, placing each kind of garbage in the correct bin;

. reduce your consumption of light and water: don’t leave the light on when you are not in a particular room at home, and don’t let the water run while brushing your teeth, for example;

. be part of local events in your community: yes, let’s be 100% hands-on! If there are no specific actions where you live, The Earth Day organization created the Great Global Cleanup, a worldwide campaign to remove billions of pieces of trash from neighborhoods, beaches, rivers, lakes, trails, and parks. Take a look at this and other opportunities at www.earthday.org.

. spread the word: be an advocate inspiring others to do the same! 

Do you see? It’s not that difficult. Let’s together help our planet live forever!