More than one billion people around the world mark Earth Day each April 22, making this environmental celebration one of the largest civic observances on the planet.
At its hub is the Earth Day Network, the not-for-profit organization that launched the first Earth Day in 1970 and has helped promote the event ever since.
This year’s theme is The Face of Climate Change. The campaign harnesses the Internet and social media to create a worldwide digital display of people, places and wildlife that have been affected by climate change.
Franklin Russell, director of Earth Day for the Earth Day Network and the Face of Climate Change campaign, wants individual faces on his virtual wall. The network’s 20,000 partner groups are helping spread the word.
“We had a couple of photos coming from India recently, from students who were using recycled plastic bags to make pots for their plants,” Russell said. “We had a bunch of people take to the streets in Bulgaria to protest deforestation and to demand the government start taking action.”
The Web-based campaign is collecting thousands of digital photos from Facebook, Instagram and other social media, which link to earthday.org.
“The key is engaging as many people as possible . . . to take a photo of themselves, depicting either the impact of climate change or even some of solutions that they are engaged in,” Russell said, “and share with us and allow us to build this really impressive digital mosaic that we can share with the world to influence change.”
That mosaic, which appears as a scanable wall of photos, is mesmerizing. You can stop on a photo, click on it to turn it over, read more on the back and join a live Twitter feed to comment on what you see.