Thursday, April 22, 2010

Big Blue Marble Day - Marketing Ploy or Celebration?

Today is Earth Day.  I'm glad there is a day designated to the Earth, trees, wind, rain, water, rivers, mountains, snow, sun, flowers, grass..all the things I love.

I often wonder why our holidays are primarily about our country and religion.  Yes there are things like Mother's Day and Father's Day.  Groundhog Day is great except for that whole pulling the groundhog out of the ground and scaring him to death thing.

I love the Earth and I'm glad there's a Day...but how do you celebrate it? Is it just a giant marketing gimmick or is it a day that makes people really think about Mother Earth?

People often ask if I'm green. (I reply that I'm a dark beige with some spots of taupe and chocolate brown spattered around.)     Yes, I guess compared to some I'm green.  I was brought up that way and remember the day when in a church vacation bible school class the correlation between religion and the environment was introduced to my tiny 5-year-old mind.  I've hung on tight to that ever since.  It makes me whole.

Then why do I feel so conflicted today?  I'm at my desk trying to choose between four different lunchtime "celebrations" and don't feel that any of them are genuine. They are all peddling something...a company, product, etc.  Being in marketing, I should be comfortable with that but I'm not.

The public relations professional side of my brain tells me that even if these folks are peddling their wares that it is a good thing to introduce the concept of caring for the earth to people. Many public awareness campaigns I've worked on started this way.  Someone has to pay for all these good messages to make sure they get out to those who need it.

I just want to get out on the river and paddle. If I do that I'll just see the plastic bottles floating about and get sad.  (BTW a client's product that collects those bottles made it to the CBS Early Show today)  .

For Earth Day I'm writing this blog. I'm asking you to stop and think about Earth Day and what it means to you - if anything.  All the bright shiny objects that are being dangled in front of you today. Are they worth the trade off to get just one more person recycling, composting or driving less?

In the long run the concerts, Facebook posts, lunches, and dog and pony shows are worth it to me.  Some people weren't fortunate enough to be in that VBS class at Brookhaven Christian Church in 1971 and they didn't have a garden in the back yard.  We've got to dangle something in front of them just to get their attention.

What's your opinion?