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Earth Day 2000: Launch of the Earth Day Network

A Powerful Tool for Sustainable Development

The Costs Of Auto Transportation High. . . & Subsidized By Non-Drivers

Your Personal Smog Alert

Wind Energy Surges Forward

Opportunities In Nonpoint Source Regulation


 

 

  Earth day 2000: Launch of the Earth Day Network
By Denis HayesDenis Hayes

Earth Day Network (EDN) is launching a multi-year campaign aimed at the major environmental issues facing our planet. EDN will use cutting-edge information technology and traditional grassroots organizing to enlist half a billion people around the world to challenge the power of vested interests and protect the public interest. The first of these annual campaigns, Earth Day 2000, seeks to accelerate the phase-out of fossil fuels and nuclear fuels before they do further irreparable damage, and to promote the efficient use of renewable energy sources.

New Energy for a New Era

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The wasteful use of outdated energy sources is producing climate change, oil spills, nuclear waste, air pollution, nuclear proliferation, acid rain, and myriad other environmental problems. Dramatic increases in energy efficiency will save money, benefit the economy, create new jobs, and enhance human health. Existing technology can reduce energy use in most countries by a factor of four or more. Moreover, twenty-five years after the first oil embargo, twelve years after Chernobyl, six years after the United Nation Earth Summit in Rio, and a year after the Kyoto Climate Conference -- no country on Earth has made a serious commitment to a renewable energy future. The time is long overdue to begin constructing energy systems based on...No country on Earth has made a serious commitment to a renewable energy future.  The time is long overdue... indigenous solar, wind, biofuels, and other sustainable sources. In rich countries and poor, Earth Day 2000 will aggressively promote global, national, local, and individual energy choices that produce no net carbon dioxide and zero radioactive waste.

Earth Day Network recognizes that, for the first time in history, humans now have the power to reshape the entire planet. We are changing the climate, triggering an epidemic of extinctions, drilling holes through the ozone layer, multiplying and consuming beyond the world's carrying capacity, and maintaining an arsenal of weapons capable of causing more destruction than multiple asteroid collisions. To address these threats, each year Earth Day Network will shine a global spotlight on one of the following critical issues:

  • Wild Places and Endangered Species
  • Population and Consumption
  • Human Health and the Environment
  • Banishing Weapons of Mass Destruction
  • Livable Communities
  • Sustainable Agriculture

Each of these yearly agendas is, of course, highly ambitious. Catalyzing such sweeping change is a heavy load to place on the shoulders of a citizen campaign.

But it has been done before.

  • On April 22, 1970 -- the first Earth Day -- 20 million Americans came together to create a national environmental agenda for the United States. Earth Day 1970 generated widespread public support that led to swift enactment of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act -- as well as creation of the nation's Environmental Protection Agency. Legislation that had been inconceivable in 1969 became unstoppable in 1970.
  • On April 22, 1990, 200 million people in 141 nations took part in the first broadly international Earth Day. The campaign pressured heads of state to participate personally in the upcoming United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro to address issues such as climate change and the worldwide loss of species. (Ultimately, more heads of government took part in the Rio conference than in any other event in history.) The campaign also focused international attention on recycling as a way of reducing demand for mines, logging, and dumps, and dramatically increased the rate of recycling in many societies.

I f humankind is ever to realize the golden age that was supposed to have accompanied the end of the Cold War, we will be led there not by politicians, but by an informed, mobilized citizenry. Like its predecessors, Earth Day 2000 will be judged on the legacy of concrete accomplishment it leaves in its wake. In nations around the world, Earth Day organizers will coordinate with a wide variety of civic, business, labor, and governmental organizations working in the energy and climate fields. The campaign will significantly augment public support for the groups' programs, and it will prod many of the groups to think more ambitiously about the tasks they are undertaking.

Earth Day 2000 will promote actions to increase energy efficiency dramatically in the residential, commercial, industrial and transportation sectors. Simultaneously, it will promote policies that will give renewable energy technologies the economic benefits of mass production. Cognizant of over-consumption and a growing population, and sensitive to the special problems facing the poor, Earth Day will begin to move the world toward an energy system that is safe, secure, affordable, and sustainable.

For more information
Earth Day 2000
91 Marion Street, Seattle, WA 98104.
Phone 206-264-0114
E-mail earthday@earthday.net, or visit http://www.earthday.net.

 


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