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April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day!

Earthday Today, April 22nd, is Earth Day.  Founded in the 60's, Earth Day is intended to celebrate and inspire awareness of nature all around us.  It started as an activist movement to inspire the grassroots.  Traditionally, the weekend prior to or after will bring many events on environmental stewardships to local communities, sponsored by organizations of all stripes.  Beach cleanup, park cleanup, and trail maintenance are examples of stewardship focused events.  How about in the vehicular sector?   AskPatty found the following  events across the sector.

Today, the government is set to release details on the timeline for achieving the CAFE standards increase to 35mpg by 2020 all vehicles.  The legislation was passed in the Dec 2007 "2008 Energy Bill" s explored in these AskPatty blogs (results, debate).  There is speculation that the government will require the industry to achieve more than half of the overall goal  between 2011 and 2015.

A search on Toyota Earth Day on its website and Google reveal a prominent story on the Toyota Earth Day Scholarship, where 15 $500 awards are given out across Canada.  Its website features link to how it supports the Earth Day Network, National Arbor Day Foundation, National Public Lands Day, Nature Conservancy, Audubon, and Tree People Eco Tours throughout the years.  There were also a number of green-related news releases of recent achievements, such as the Lexus Environmental Challenge for high school students, winning the 2008 EPA Energy Star Sustained Excellence Award.  Great job, Toyota!

A GM's website search says that it provides lesson plans on the environment for grades K-12.  If you are an educator, check out "Earth Day Way - Every Day".  A Google search returned several videos.  The most interesting one is a GM media story on recycling rates of cars, which according to EPA has the highest recycling rate (95%) beating paper and plastics.   

A Ford website search did not return any hit on Earth Day.  In the media, Ford touts its success in cleaning up its operations, though those are not new news.  Here's a blogger's  a blogger's take which includes the press release.

In Los Angeles, the Wilshire Center is sponsoring an Earth Day = Car Free Day event.

In New York City, the car wash Broadway Bridge Wash and Lube will celebrate its first Earth Day by promoting the dramatic impact proper car maintenance can have on carbon reduction and cost savings at the gas pump.

Meanwhile, US News has this easy-to-read snapshot on the state of green cars.  Where are they today?  What is available?

The Environmental Defense Fund has this message of hope on Earth Day 2008.  Meanwhile, another website for going green just launched today,

Last but not least, while doing all these Googling, I notice the Google homepage has a special graphic to celebrate this special day.   I always love these Google arts -- very creative... here it is. Googleearthday2008 

Still, why should earth be celebrated only on one day?  Why not Earth Week and Earth Month?  How about making every day an earth day?  AskPatty "Be Green and Eco Conscious" blog section has a lot of information and ideas on how to be greener with your car, your fuel, and your daily life.  What is the one action that you can take this month to honor Earth Day?  It could be something small or something big... no matter... work it up towards doing more and more.

As for me, I am going car-free today.  I am going to enjoy the sunshine and the breeze on my face while cycling around.

Extrazoom Marn-Yee Lee
Contributing Editor

Marn-Yee Lee is pursuing an MBA in Sustainability at the Presidio School of Management in San Francisco.  After spending a decade in I.T. and on Wall Street, she is now pursuing her passion for the environment.  She sees business as a partner for creating innovative solutions to pressing environmental issues. In her spare time, she writes a blog to inspire others to consider the impact of their daily lives on the environment at


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