By Brian Rinker
Everyone who appreciates living on Earth, or those just in the neighborhood who wish to celebrate the planet are in luck because the Earth Day festival will take place April 23 at Civic Center Plaza.
“Earth Day is a day of education and a day of acknowledgment in taking care of our planet,” said Douglas Kolhberg, main producer of Earth Day San Francisco. “It has been growing as a holiday and as an established day of the year where people get together and celebrate the Earth.”
This year, the festival is having live multicultural music, environmental keynote speakers, workshops and other activities focused on integrating green solutions into everyday life.
“Sustainable energy is the driving force of the new economy,” Kolhberg said.
Earth Day, which comes on April 22, is an internationally recognized holiday that most people don’t get off. This is especially true for Rusty Harris-Bishop, communications coordinator for the Environmental Protection Agency.
“We probably work harder on Earth Day,” said Harris-Bishop. “It is a very busy week for us; we are all probably presenting and speaking at Earth Day events.”
Earth Day began in 1970 with 20 million people rallying in the streets nationwide. It is recognized as the springboard for all the environmental legislation and agencies we have today, including the Clean Air Act of 1970 and the birth of the EPA.
Harris-Bishop speculates why Earth Day played an important role in the environment policy changes that followed.
“Richard Nixon saw the mob on that first Earth Day celebration and said ‘there are Republicans out there.’ Earth Day was the galvanizing point for the general public to recognize the concern for protecting our planet,” Harris-Bishop said.
Earth Day doesn’t have the revolutionary impact it once did, however. While most people care about the environment and have heard of Earth Day, they aren’t aware of its actual date.
“Earth Day, we celebrate that in my country too, but I don’t know what day it is,” said Ricardo Humg, 21-year-old City College student from Brazil. “Earth Day should be every day.”
Harris-Bishop agrees that Earth Day should be every day. He offered a reason why it is a holiday instead: It can then engender million-people rallies and economic incentives to support environmental protective measures – though usually they come after the fact.
“Human nature is to fix problems, not to prevent them,” said Harris-Bishop.