Earth Day is Sunday, and over the years it has been criticized as ferment for anti-human pessimism or, worse, an opportunity for companies to “greenwash” their brands — which is to say, pay lip service to environmental concerns while doing nothing. Such complaints whither in the face of the many facts showing that much awareness-raising remains to be done. For example, Americans still toss out rather than recycle 2.5 million plastic bottles — every hour. In 1970, when the United Nations sanctioned Earth Day, it was the first international admission of a serious problem. Activists who had focused on isolated causes — oil spills, deforestation, raw sewage, animal extinction — suddenly found a single voice, and the largest secular holiday in the world. San Francisco was first to the party and, while 1 billion people from Tuvalu to Kiev have since joined, we might still do it best. Find out for yourself at Earth Day San Francisco.
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