Posted at 03:52 PM ET, 04/21/2011

Earth Day: Has it outlived its usefulness?


Taiwanese singer A-mei listens to some natural sound during an Earth Day activity in Taipei, Taiwan, Saturday, April 16, 2011. (Chiang Ying-ying - AP)
Oh, Earth Day.

Your purpose is grand and your efforts robust. No one doubts the passion of your participants. This year, you’re asking for a billion acts of green.to present at the sustainable conference in Rio de Janeiro in 2012.

There’s only one problem. Does anyone really know, Earth Day, what it is you do?

Forty-one years ago, you were credited with launching the modern environmental movement. No small feat.

But tomorrow, you will simply tell people to do “acts of green.” People like environmentalists, but the message also gets to companies like Chevron and F.A.O. Schwartz, which love to jump on the green bandwagon.

You’ve also got way too much family these days. What’s this about Earth Hour? Earth Week? And that much nicer and less-political Arbor Day? Which begs the question: How long are we supposed to really care about the Earth? A minute, a day, a lifetime?

I know Earth Week might have seemed like a good idea (a billion green acts could be hard to fit into 24 hours), but now no one knows what day you actually fall on. April 20? Wait, that’s a day concerning just one plant. April 21? 22? Passover? Easter? I’m so confused.

It doesn’t help that one of your biggest events, cleaning up electronic waste, has been decried by environmentalists as actually being bad for the environment. (It’s estimated that 80 percent of e-waste is exported to countries that allow the waste to leach toxins into soil and water.)

Earth Day, I have to ask, has your celebration outlived its usefulness?

What do you think? Does Earth Day still have a real effect on the environment or has it lost its usefulness?

Let us know in the comments section or using the hashtag #wpearthday and we’ll post your responses back here.

@washingtonpost #WPEarthDay heck no! We need reminders more than evr. Oil spills,nuclear disasters,frackng accidents. have 2do what we canless than a minute ago via Twitter for iPad Favorite Retweet Reply

@washingtonpost #WPEarthDay here in Colombia is a special day in schools and cities, and for example special plans at the localparks #bogotaless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

#WPEarthday It never had usefulness. We are 2 be stewards of our planet Big govt & big business unholy alliance ignorant of steward meaningless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

@washingtonpost #WPEarthDay isn't useful unless people actually make changes to their daily lives. 1 day of the year doesn't cut it.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

#WPEarthDay It is Earth Day EVERYDAY! We need to realize this fact and act upon it!less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

@washingtonpost I think the only people who pay attention to Earth Day are elementary school students and like 37% of liberals. #WPEarthDayless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

By  |  03:52 PM ET, 04/21/2011

 
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