April 22, 2010

World Celebrates Earth Day 2010

From celebrities to politicians to environmental activists, people all around the world today are celebrating the 40th annual Earth Day in different ways.

In the United States, Vice President Joe Biden announced that 25 U.S. communities would receive funds to help their efforts to assist businesses and non-profit organizations in their energy efficiency retrofitting procedures. Biden pledged a total of $452 million in stimulus funding to aid with projects including replacing air conditioners or heating units with more efficient models.

According to Karen Travers of ABC News, Biden called the proposal "a win for consumers who save money on their energy bill"¦ a win for the environment because we're using less energy, which cuts down on harmful emissions from greenhouse gases"¦ and, finally, it's a win for the American economy, because it creates green jobs, jobs that can't be outsourced."

In New York, a live "Green Auction" will be held to try to raise funds for a quartet of nonprofit organizations. Bidders can win a day on the set with actor Hugh Jackman, tennis lessons from John McEnroe, a dinner and theater date with actress Sigourney Weaver, autographed books, pieces or art, jewelry, watches, and more.

Various other events will also mark the occasion, which was established by former Wisconsin senator Gaylord Nelson and first celebrated in 1970, will be held throughout the country. Thursday concerts are being held at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Alpharetta, Georgia and the Stefanie H. Weill Center for the Performing Arts in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and on Friday, Jack Johnson's Kokua Festival 2010 will be held at the Waikiki Shell in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Finally, on Sunday at the National Mall in Washington D.C., Sting, John Legend, members of the Grateful Dead, "Avatar" director James Cameron, and others will be featured at an Earth Day related event. According to MTV News, "Organizers and speakers will urge Congress to pass clean-energy legislation in 2010" during the April 25 celebration.

Speaking of Cameron and "Avatar," the film debuted on DVD and Blu Ray on Earth Day. The film, which contained many themes related to conservationism, is currently the highest grossing motion picture of all time. Earlier this week, Cameron confirmed that there will be a sequel to the movie, which will focus on the waters of the fictional world of Pandora, and in an April 20 interview with the Los Angeles Times, he discussed its impact on the environmental movement around the world.

"Not only is it good business, but it's good for the environment," the Academy Award winning director told Patrick Kevin Day during the interview. "I think every model we should use in evaluating any environmental project moving forward should be: Is it good business and is it good for the environment?"

"There's this idea promoted by the right and by special interest groups that you have to choose," Cameron added. "You can either have a strong economy or you can help the environment, but you can't do both at the same time. That's ridiculous. In fact, as a sustainable vision for a healthy economy has to involve changing our energy policy and changing with respect to the natural world."

Denis Hays, a coordinator during the inaugural Earth Day, reflected on the differences between then and now in an interview with reporter Jim Tankersley, saying "In 1970, the stuff we were mobilizing people around was obvious. You could see it, smell it, taste it"¦ The big issues that remain now are things that are largely impossible to detect unless you have sophisticated instruments. They're things like climate change and ocean acidification--big issues, but not something you can see affecting your children."


On the Net:

Earth Day 2010 - http://www.earthday.org/earthday2010