This somber one-year anniversary of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on Earth Day bears an eerie parallel to the first Earth day 41 years ago. Both emerge out of the environmental degradation of an historic oil spill and nuclear reactor accident: the Gulf and Japan today, California and Three Mile Island then. It seems we haven't made much progress. If we scan various political and regulatory initiatives, we seem to be regressing. Where's the environmental movement today? What do we do now?
With technology that enables us to "go global" with the touch of a button, the catchphrase "Think global, act local" is almost quaint.
By watching our economies ride the same roller coaster, we feel how dependent our jobs and welfare are on each other. Just as our words and pictures can reach instantly from Boston to Bangladesh, the radiation from the Japanese nuclear reactor accident can reach the shores of California. Just as we now literally share the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the water we drink -- we share the same responsibility for ensuring the safety and sustainability of these resources.
Our oceans today are more acidic than they have been in over 20 million years, and our coral reefs are on the cusp of collapse. Since 1979, more than 20 percent of the Arctic polar ice caps have vanished. And extreme weather events are growing in frequency and violence, causing billions of dollars in damage worldwide, and ultimately taking lives.
So now -- when we feel the dangers of environmental degradation personally, when we mark the somber anniversaries of oil spills, nuclear accidents and the coincidence of Earth Day -- is the precise moment when we must act together to channel the formidable power of our combined forces to create a vibrant green economy, one that will secure the intertwined futures of our children and our planet.
What's it going to take for us to awaken from our complacency? Is oil consuming the Gulf and all its precious wildlife not "enough"? Is nuclear radiation hitting our own shores from Japan not "enough"?
Now is precisely the time to leverage our economic and technological connections to save our natural resources and jumpstart the green economy.
Imagine if a billion of us shouted in unison with our actions... Imagine if individuals, schools, communities, corporations and governments all committed to millions of specific steps toward sustainability... Imagine how many new jobs would be created... Imagine how many species would be preserved... Imagine how many mouths would be fed from still-arable land... and thirsts would be quenched from drinkable water...
Such numbers would send a powerful signal that it's time for change, that it's time for action from our governments and from the private sector.
One billion people raising their voices in unison through action. It sounds unfathomable. It has begun. Over 100 million have already spoken with their actions in our Billion Acts of Green® campaign.
To leverage those 100 million "acts," to engage people worldwide faster and spur people into environmental action, Earth Day Network has forged a collaboration with the ubiquitous social platform Facebook on the Billion Acts of Green® campaign, the world's largest environmental advocacy and service project.
Having redefined "togetherness" in the digital age, Facebook, like Earth Day Network, possesses the powerful ability to take positive messages and propel them across cultural, national, and religious divides. Their new app is inspiring people around the world to take actions to save the environment through their Facebook page. Starting recycling programs. Planting trees by the millions. Designing "green" communities. Reducing the energy consumption of their homes, offices, schools and Embassies.
Demonstrating that the people are taking charge, again,
Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time. It also presents an unprecedented opportunity -- the chance to build a prosperous, clean energy economy. A Green Economy.
So stand up. Take charge.
Make a pledge to commit an act of green. Rally others -- your friends, your family, your neighbors, your hundreds of Facebook "friends," your local and state elected officials, Rattle the cages of Congress. Knock on the doors of corporations with environmentally damaging business practices. And do not stop until our collective global voices have been heard and our demands for environmental sustainability have been met.
It is time to invest in our planet, in our future, to invest in the Green Economy.
Like climate change, one billion voices cannot be denied.
Follow Kathleen Rogers on Twitter: www.twitter.com/earthdaynetwork