Local Governments, Elected Officials Turn Out in Droves for Earth Day 2012

Earth Day has always offered an amazing platform for elected officials to initiate and boost local sustainability efforts. And local governments are key players when it comes to managing the impacts of climate change. Many communities around the world have already implemented extensive sustainability plans and begun to embrace the green economy. 

This Earth Day, through Earth Day Network’s Campaign for Communities, the number of elected officials participating in Earth Day events around the world was one of the highest we have ever seen. 

In communities far and wide, many elected officials are not only answering the sustainability call but rallying individuals to protect the environment.

This year, Earth Day Network mobilized nearly 700 U.S. elected officials to participate in Earth Day through community clean-ups, town hall meetings, tree plantings, documentary film screenings, community bike rides and other activities. 

Seventy-six cities and towns across the United States signed our official Earth Day Proclamation, making this year’s official local government participation in Earth Day one of the highest in U.S. history. State Governors also jumped on board – with Proclamations from Washington Governor Christine O. Gergoire and Florida Governor Rick Scott.

Mayors all over the United States participated in Earth Day, hosting events to activate their constituents. For example, in Des Moines, Iowa, the local government organized an “Earth Day Trash Bash” where 1,000 volunteers collected over 6,000 pounds of litter, tires and recyclables; 2012 also marked the 25th anniversary of the “Mayor’s Annual Ride” in Des Moines, a 25 mile bike ride with Mayor Cownie. In Baltimore, Maryland, The National Aquarium had a “Party for the Planet,” with an eco-fair, free bike tune-ups and more. Governor Martin O'Malley and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake took part in a tree-planting ceremony outside the Aquarium. And in Washington, D.C., Mayor Vincent Gray braved the cold, wind and rain to speak at the flagship Earth Day event on the National Mall, watched all over the world. 

By working with so many elected officials for Earth Day 2012, Earth Day Network is mobilizing communities around the world to make the transition to an environmentally sustainable future and a green economy.  As we prepare for Rio+20, Earth Day offers an incredible reminder of all the work local governments are doing not only to clean up their communities and spread environmental awareness but to actually reduce global warming pollution in the face of international inaction.