On April 22 of every year the United States, and now 192, countries celebrate the environment and all it has to offer since 1970. The first Earth Day was held in 1970 and was founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson, who was later awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award. Denis Hayes, the original national coordinator, in 1990 took the idea and made it international and organized events in 141 nations. It has also evolved into an Earth Week for many countries where events are held all week to promote awareness for environmental issues. It is specifically on April 22nd so that universities and colleges can participate without it conflicting with their academic schedules and vacations. It is now coordinated by Earth Day Network, a nonprofit organization and claims to be the largest secular holiday in the word. Environmentalists are using this day as an example of action and pressuring change in human behavior and governmental policy.
With an environmental focus in my global studies major I wanted to look at some practice that promotes environmentalism/sustainability and understand this cultural practice enforced by institutions. Environmentalism has been increasing in popularity for some time now and has reached basically every country whether they have the time and resources to donate to its cause or not, it is in the back of everyone’s mind. The environment in the United States has become such a politicized issue instead of just being for the sake of the environment. As I look through different theoretical analyses I want to look at the practices and promotion of Earth Day (and those institutions behind it) and see what it is actually doing and how and why it is accomplishing their different goals. Also how it is influencing modern day society and who is benefiting from it.