Embracing the 2022 Earth Day Theme “Take Action!”

Since starting Earth Day in the 1970s, my team and I have adopted the “It’s Now or Never” mentality.

The 52nd Earth Day is upon us. Buckminister Fuller, futurist and inventor of the geodesic dome, coined the term “Spaceship Earth,”, and we appreciate, as never before, this small planet that provides life support systems for all species. Astronauts and billionaires have ventured out and taken us to the bitter-cold, airless vacuum of infinite space and are profoundly moved upon their return to the home world, almost in a spiritual way. All humans are surviving together on this tiny, fragile, beautiful planet.

I was involved in helping found Earth Day in 1970, and NASA provided us with the all-time best logo ever: the photos of Earth from space and the Moon, deemed among the most important photos in history. Earth Day inspired the first United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, held in Stockholm in 1972. Earth Day spawned the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and led to the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and replicas in nations globally.

I created the pioneering impact incubator Green2Gold to foster the green economy as a solution to the challenges of global pollution—inventing and innovating our way to a truly sustainable future, in harmony and balance with the biosphere and all life, Earth’s ecosystem. Idealistically, the theme was “Save the World and Make Money Doing It!” Scientists, engineers, researchers, designers, innovators, inventors, entrepreneurs, educators, and socially and environmentally responsible nonprofits—nearly 200 to date—have worked in symbiosis for 52 years. This initiative has offered incredible business opportunities for savvy executives to fast track licensings, investments, and acquisitions to hasten success in the green economy. We helped create and run the Green Business Conferences of ECO EXPO’s National Marketplace for the Environment, and have been featured in the leading media of our times, including CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Good Morning America, Time, NPR, and Business Week. We have also led some 5,000 workshops around the world.

The Eve of Earth Day, Philadelphia, April 21st, 1970. Image source: AP/Shutterstock.

The 2022 Earth Day Theme

Earth Day is now the largest civic event in the world and billions celebrate it increasingly in more than 120 countries.

This year’s theme—as it was in 2020 for the 50th anniversary—“Take Action!”

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report said, “It’s now or never.” If human-caused global warming isn’t limited to just another couple of tenths of a degree, an Earth struck regularly by climate change-driven disasters in future decades will degrade in 127 ways, with some being “potentially Irreversible.”

Climate change has spurred an urgency as never before—the insurance industry already credits climate change-driven disasters, such as record-breaking snowfall, rain, fires, temperatures, storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, winds, and droughts, tabulating losses totaling over a trillion dollars. The Resilience Innovation Hub, a national and international insurance industry R&D and implementation organization, was established to mitigate these increasingly serious risks. It has adopted Green2Gold’s National Transition Initiative.

This year, April 22-24, 2022, Green2Gold, EarthStock Expo, OneWorld Center, and many dozens of other institutions, are heralding a new force and set of solution-based tools for making the transition to sustainability and resilience. We are leading a global, inclusive green economy— powered by renewable energy — and enabling solid economic expansion while protecting our only home.

Former UN Ambassador Adlai Stevenson in 1964 profoundly reviewed our human plight and planetary predicament:

We travel together, passengers on a little spaceship, dependent upon its vulnerable reserves of air and soil, all committed for our safety to its security and peace; preserved from annihilation only by the care, the work, and, I will say, the love we give our fragile craft. We cannot maintain it half fortunate, half miserable, half confident, half despairing, half slave to the ancient enemies of man, half free in a liberation of resources undreamed of until this day. No craft, no crew can travel safely with such vast contradictions. On their resolution depends the survival of us all.

The leaders of business, captains of industry, and of government, education, science, labor—all of us can help future-proof America and the rest of civilization as we regenerate our commitment to each other and the intertwined systems that give us all sustenance. We have many solutions to the many problems ahead—it just takes action!

Alan A. Tratner is founder and chairman of Green2Gold and the Transition Project. He helped establish the first Earth Day in 1970.