Capitalism and Greenery: Why Is Earth Day Not A Major Holiday? 

Courtesy of Notability Blog


By Rami Mansi


   Earth Day is a significant holiday that has been marked and exemplified by both powerful movements in history, Nickelodeon’s unique “Day of Play,” a repetition of the three R’s of rescue, reuse, and recycle, as well as global protests for climate justice. This idea of significance raises the question of why Earth Day is not taken as seriously as other global days of action.

   Earth Day originated through community efforts to establish legislation for conservation efforts. On April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day was celebrated by attending inaugural events in many public areas and services, such as schools, universities, and community sites, according to the Library of Congress

   The holiday has been marked by simple acknowledgments, community efforts for change, and ensured connection with nature. However, on a national level, action has yet to be taken to give Earth Day agency from other holidays. Capitalism’s influence and internal mechanisms can explain the lack of corporate interest and the perceived insignificance of Earth Day compared to other holidays.  

   Holidays such as Valentine’s Day, Christmas, and other holidays are popularized with advertisements by major corporations in order to be used as a selling point. Earth Day has been seen to have little add-on value to the economic status of its surroundings due to volunteering, advertising away from material aspects, appreciating natural occurrences, and taking care of the only non-profitable thing on planet Earth: itself.

   When it comes to celebrating Earth Day, something to take note of is to acknowledge the land that we are celebrating. New York City was indigenous land, with contemporary names like Manhattan stemming from its original name, Manahatta; this land was sacred to the Lenape tribe. 

   In textbooks, the original cultivators of our land, the indigenous tribes, are not celebrated as they should be. Instead, we see that caucasian people organized and fulfilled the land through its foundation, forgetting the tribes that helped the settlers make their land and cultivate it in the first place. 

   With such a whitewashed history pervasive throughout history textbooks and verbal retellings of New York’s history, acknowledging the people who founded and built the foundation for society is fundamental to celebrating our Earth.

      All these aspects explain why big corporations do not promote Earth Day as a significant holiday. However, although this day is not celebrated, activities still happen. Especially in areas like New York City, celebrating a day where we should reconnect with nature in one of the most urban central areas in the world is widely tricky.

   Many students of Brooklyn College turn to the campus lawn as their sole source of greenery, a campus that BC prides itself on having with luscious trees and foliage, and it also has a powerful support system for its acts of sustainability. 

   For example, the BC Waste Audit and Sustainability Fair occurred on April 18. This event aimed to help the BC community flourish by spreading awareness on how to help our environment through sustainability and having a community discussion on various social aspects of the environment. 

   In the true spirit of Earth Day, we must make the day more impactful as a community. It’s not just about Earth Day, but what it represents for the future of nature and supporting our environment. A symbol of nourishment, appreciation, and gardening, Earth Day could have more impact than any other holiday if we push it towards the mainstream. 

   In an age of breaking down the past and rebuilding for a better and brighter future, take the time to celebrate your surroundings by strolling in your nearby park, sitting down on the lawn at BC and soaking in the sun, or even sitting by the pond.  It is crucial to show personal appreciation for the nature surrounding us. 

   Though Earth Day is one singular day, let’s not rush to end the walks through nature and traditions within 24 hours. Let’s all stay focused on helping the Earth for more than for just one Earth Day or Earth month. Celebrate and help the Earth every chance you have, because Earth Day is truly every day.  

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