by Denis Hayes, Jenny Odell, Jedediah Britton-Purdy, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Reverend Lennox Yearwood Jr., Jamie Margolin. March 2, 2020, Sierra (The national magazine of the Sierra Club). Illustrations by Nolen Strals.
The United States had never experienced anything like it: On April 22, 1970, nearly one in 10 Americans flooded the streets and the woods and the seashores to call for an end to the merciless pollution of the country’s air, waters, and landscapes. In the words of Senator Gaylord Nelson, the Wisconsin Democrat who conceived the idea of Earth Day, the goal was to force the issue of environmental protection “permanently onto the national political agenda”—and in that, the effort succeeded.
To mark Earth Day’s 50th anniversary, Sierra assembled a collection of activists, organizers, and authors to imagine how it can be reinvigorated and reinvented. While each contributor writes in a different key, together they form a chorus, insistently hopeful that Earth Day 2020 can be another watershed moment—one that leads to a bigger, bolder, and more lasting transformation.
- Denis Hayes – Make the 50th Earth Day the Biggest Yet. Premonitions of an environmental earthquake.
- Jenny Odell – What Earthrise Can Tell Us About Earth Day. Earth Day should be a time for thinking about time.
- Jedediah Britton-Purdy – An Earth Day for Life on Earth. Earth Day should be a festival letting other living things be, just because they are alive.
- Robin Wall Kimmerer – From the Pond to the Streets. This Earth Day, it’s time to pick up a shovel and get to work.
- Reverend Lennox Yearwood Jr. – A World Worth Fighting For. The climate movement must empower frontline communities to take a seat at the table.
- Jamie Margolin – Let’s Return Earth Day to Its Revolutionary Past. Youth activist Jamie Margolin hated Earth Day, until she learned more about it.