This Friday April 22nd is Earth Day 2011.
In case you were wondering, the very first Earth Day was April 22nd, 1970. I found a lovely article written by former Senator Gaylord Nelson, founder of Earth Day. Nelson relates that Earth Day came about because of a disconnect between the people and the government regarding the importance of environmental concerns. The people were concerned about matters of conservation and environmental health while the political establishment was not. While at a conference in Seattle in 1969, Nelson announced that he was planning a grassroots environmental demonstration in the spring of 1970 that was open to everyone. The wire services carried the story from coast to coast and the response was electric. From that point on Nelson and his Washington DC staff organized demonstrations from their Senate office. But it soon became obvious that they could not organize the whole event. In the end 20 million people participated in the first Earth Day.
Earth Day is in its DNA a demonstration for environmental concerns. It is political and actionable. Earth Day is also open to all with no exclusions. And most importantly, Earth Day is an event that should be organized and carried out by the people. It should come from us, not the government.
Several sources I found online said that if everyone in the US would eat one local meal a week our country would save 1.1 million barrels of oil and 1.9 billion dollars would be pumped back into the economy. I cannot figure out which study first found out this statistic, so, sorry that there is no link back to it. But it seems to be the go to stat. National Geographic and Barbara Kingsolver and AgriGirl have all used it. So I feel it is pretty trustworthy. But jeez, 57 million barrels of oil a year? That is a lot! According to a University of Nebraska paper from what appears to be the late 90’s, US oil consumption stands at about 19.6 million barrels a day. Which means if we all had a local meal every week, we would save about 3 days worth of oil, or slightly less than 1% of our total annual supply. That might not sound like much to you. But to me that seems huge from just ONE thing, eating local.
Organic Valley recently challenged bloggers and their readers across the country to eat more locally by encouraging Earth Dinner. Earth Dinner is a completely local and organic meal that one can share with family and friends in conjunction with Earth Day. I think this is a beautiful way for anyone to deliciously celebrate Earth Day and support local business.
And just because they are pretty awesome, they are generously giving away to my readers:
1) One Year’s Worth of Free Organic Valley Products in the form of 52 free-product coupons ($520 value)
2) 4 Earth Dinner Books
3) And an Organic Valley reusable, packable shopping bag for carrying all those delicious Organic Valley goodies.
All you have to do to enter is “like” The OV Earth Dinner Facebook Page and comment down below that you did so. There is nothing else that you need to do, though signing up for my daily email or RSS feed would be a very polite thing to do to…I will choose 6 winners at random (through random.org) and will announce those winners on Earth Day Friday April 22, 2011. Here is to eating local!!!
This Post is part of Simple Lives Thursday at Sustainable Eats and GNOWFLINS