Thinking About Earth Day: Past, Present, and Future (Video)

This year marked Earth Day's 40th Anniversary, but the celebration was about more than the annual event. In many ways, the first Earth Day in 1970 marked the beginning of the modern environmentalism movement. TreeHugger had the opportunity to talk to Denis Hayes, the original national coordinator of Earth Day 1970, about where the event has been—and where it's going.He offered some great advice—including a change of diet—for reducing individual impacts on the environment, but he also commented that Earth Day's power is that it helps combine several disparate threads into a single cohesive movement. By Earth Day 2020, he added, he hopes to see the need for far fewer protests—instead, Earth Day could be a day of celebration.

TreeHugger also spoke with Nate Byer, Earth Day 2010 campaign director. Though his experience with the event does not stretch back 40 years, he was able to offer some insight into what environmentalists need to do to ensure that the next 10 years of activism are more productive than the last:

The message from both Hayes and Byer was that we need to close the gap between personal action and global impact—and force policymakers to do the same.

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