Cities, the Key to a Green Future

Blog contributed by Yoav Magid, Earth Day Director, Earth Day Network. Click here to view the original blog post on Medium. 

Each year, Earth Day (April 22) marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement. The first Earth Day in 1970 mobilized 20 million people and sparked the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the creation of the US Environmental Protection Agency. Today, Earth Day engages more than a billion people worldwide, with events in every country and for every level of society!

As more than half of the world’s population now lives in cities and this will only increase, the important role cities and their citizen’s play in greening the world cannot be understated.

This Earth Day, we are challenging every sister city to do one of the following:

1. Plant trees with your sister city

Why Trees?This is the five year countdown to Earth Day’s 50th anniversary (2020), and we’re calling on you to help us achieve one of our most ambitious goals yet — we’re planting 7.8 billion trees (that’s one tree for every person on earth) and we’re starting now. Host a big tree planting event with your sister city, maybe even planting each other’s official tree if your geography allows it!

2. Host a Town Hall on the Global Day of Conversation

Every year on Earth Day, cities around the world are part of the Global Day of Conversation, hosting town halls that bring together city officials and citizens to explore climate action and investment in renewable energy. It’s an incredible way to get your citizens engaged. One way to involve your sister city is to co-host a town hall using Facebook, Twitter, or even a Google Hangout.

3. Commit to go carbon neutral by 2050

Cities are the world’s policy incubators. Last year, 197 cities issued proclamations committing to observe Earth Day, require climate education, or go carbon neutral by 2050. With your help, we believe that number can be doubled this year! Commit to go carbon neutral together with your sister city, use each other for ideas and best practices, and keep each other accountable!

Whether you organize a tree planting event, host a Day of Conversation town hall, or make a commitment to go carbon neutral, let us know. On that page, you’ll also find a map of events that are already being organized in your area. If you have any questions, contact us at getlocal@earthday.org.

P.S. For more ideas on how to organize your event and get media coverage, check our toolkit.