Friday, April 22, 2011

A Billion Acts Of Green For Earth Day

Earth DayThe year 1970 saw the death of Jimi Hendrix, the last Beatles album, and one of the largest Vietnam protest in Washington D.C., but some great things happened too.

Black Sabbath debuted what is sometimes regarded as the first heavy metal album, the astronauts on the crippled Apollo 13 mission safely returned, and Earth Day launched a new awareness for the environment.

It might be Earth Day, but the real accomplishment isn't about April 22. It's about 22,000 partners and organizations in 192 countries working to transform awareness into action through the Earth Day Network.

This year, the Earth Day Network has stepped up its challenge to get more people involved through its A Billion Acts of Green campaign, which asks people to make a simple pledge to do one thing that benefits themselves and the environment — even the tiniest contributions that range from buying more food from local farms to turning off the water while brushing your teeth.

The smallest contributions often have the biggest impact.

It might not seem all that significant on a small scale, but A Billion Acts of Green isn't small. More than 100 million people have participated. And some of these various efforts only seem small. This includes Pennies For The Planet, which asked school children to collect pennies to help save a natural sanctuary for endangered species. They collected 2.7 million of them ($27,500).

The same kind of inspiration struck renowned artist Vik Muniz several years ago. He journeyed from his home base in Brooklyn to Brazil to see the world's largest garbage dump, Jardim Gramacho, located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.

What he discovered there was a band of eclectic pickers, called catadores who look for and attempt to live off recycled materials. His collaboration with these people as they recreate photographic images of themselves out of garbage reveals both dignity and despair. It was his hope that he might help them re-imagine their lives.

In addition to participating in the film, Muniz donated 100 percent of the “Pictures of Garbage” portraits created to the Association of Recycling Pickers of Jardim Gramacho. The funds were used to build them new homes, fund the community's deficit, and improve its infrastructure, among other things. The documentary also provides a dedicated donation page, with the filmmakers advising that any donation be directed to the ACAMJG community through the BrazilFoundation.

Interestingly enough, the landfill seen in the film was opened in 1970. The same year that Earth Day was founded.

A Billion Acts of Green Is A Good Will Pick.

At least once a month, Liquid [Hip] highlights good will efforts undertaken by courageous people with big hearts. We don’t score them. That belongs to you.

We picked A Billion Acts of Green from the Earth Network because it was one of the most positive and individual-specific campaigns launched in conjunction with Earth Day this year. It requires little more than making a pledge to do even the smallest thing for the environment or the people who live in threatened areas.

Visit the website for upcoming screenings of Waste Land. You can also find the documentary Waste Land on iTunes. Perhaps it will inspire you to do something more.
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