I have been writing this blog for more than five years. Particularly in the first three years, I wrote a number of columns on energy, peak oil, electric cars, alternative and renewable forms of energy and conservation. I wrote early and often about how humanity, and the United States in particular, would in the future need to completely alter its view of energy and the use of resources.
One consequence of those columns was that I was increasingly regarded as a “thought shaper” in the world of energy, the environment and all things “green.” This resulted in me being invited to attend and speak at conferences about the energy and green future of America. In addition, people and companies began sending me press releases about new and innovative products, new research and new conferences. This in and of itself was good, as it helped me stay current on innovation in the area of energy and sustainability.
Unfortunately, two other things occurred in relation to this ever-increasing in-bound flow of PR and news items. First, the awareness of my blog increased the amount of less-than-relevant information I received when the “greenmailing” of America exploded. Second, entities felt that they could earn points by making announcement on or around Earth Day.
Now, I am the first person to say that anything that creates alternative and renewable sources of energy, increases sustainability, changes thinking on use of resources and opens up thinking for this new century on how we will manage to all live on Spaceship Earth should be embraced. However, starting somewhere in mid-March, I began to get an increasing number of emails touting new announcements tied into Earth Day. Would I like to interview so and so in preparation for Earth Day? Would I like to consider writing about this LEED-certified new building technique for Earth Day? Would I like to profile this new energy company that will be revealing a new method of utilizing algae for Earth Day? Enough, people! No! No! No!
Don’t you get it, folks? Step outside your obsessive promotion and your completely antiquated view of Earth Day as a meaningful event. It is no longer about you and the cool stuff you are doing for Earth Day. Earth Day was a brilliant concept to raise awareness about all things environmental. When it first occurred in 1970, I embraced it as a way to highlight the need for us to change our thinking about the environment and the planet. Flowing from the first Whole Earth photograph and the catalogue of the same name, it was a wonderful event to support. However, it is time to retire Earth Day, for it has served its purpose.
Don’t tell me what you are going to do or announce on Earth Day. Commit to doing it every day, every week, every month, and every year. It is no longer a Day. This is Earth Decade, as it will be between now and 2020 when we will either alter our direction or suffer dire consequences. This 10-year period is incredibly critical to changing thinking, behavior, policy and creating breakthrough innovation in the areas of energy and sustainability. Send me a press release on what you are committing to do for the next 10 years. Now that would be something of interest.
In a column dated 01-01-10, I called 2010-2020 the Transformation Decade. That column took off, and I have since delivered numerous speeches on the topic. The definition of transformation is “a change in nature, character, shape or form.” This is the decade when humanity and most of its institutions will change in nature, character, shape and form.
All aspects of energy use and resource use will be transformed in this decade. We will also create a new long-term view of human life on Spaceship Earth. In many ways – as I often speak about – 2010-2020 will be the first full decade of human thought about the 21st century, as we have powered into this 21st century with 20th century legacy thinking.
The 21st century will be the Earth Century. It will be during this century that humanity faces the reality of whether it wants to destroy itself and much of what exists on this magnificent planet or not. Assuming we make essential course corrections, future historians will write about the Earth Century as a turning point in human history.
So folks, stop getting excited about Earth Day. Retire that thinking and refocus on the next 90 years of the Earth Century.