Climate Action

Leadership Will Not Save Us!

As we embark on the 45th anniversary of Earth Day, we selected “It’s Our Turn to Lead” as our theme. It is customary to use themes in planning and promoting annual events as a way to attract participants. However, our theme became the catalyst for cultural change within Earth Day Network.  As conversations about leaders, leadership, losses and victories circulated…something happened. We not so suddenly realized that our leadership will not save us! What do I mean by this? Here’s an explanation: Earth Day Network has been in the fight for environmental justice for 45 years. During this long time, we have seen climate change organizers and organizations emerge. We have worked collaboratively to spread the urgent message of environmental sustainability. The result of our organization’s work alone has led to Earth Day observances in 192 countries. We also have 1,023,945,265 documented acts of civic environmental protection. We lovingly refer to them as “A Billion Acts of Green”. I think those outcomes qualify as results of successful leadership. Nonetheless, our “successful leadership” did not save us from Hurricane Katrina 9 years ago or the earthquake in Irving, last month.  Our leadership left us lost on how best to aid Haiti, Thailand and Indonesia when climate crisis came their way. The reality is “leadership” has not secured the necessary policies and practices we need to save our lives. The result of many climate catastrophes is often death. So that statement is far from hyperbole. But what if we were “leader-full”?  A network “full” of multi-cultural, inter-generational talent fighting to strategically secure environmental justice. If we take this pivotal moment to be “leader-full” we could win environmental sustainability. This would mean schools would be “full” of healthy kids learning in healthy conditions.  This would mean communities “full” of green places to live, play and pray. This would mean “full” pockets from green jobs. This would mean elections “full” of policies to protect our environment. Leadership will not save us. We need every human being to get leader-full by or before Earth Day. No previous experience required, just be human.  Presently, nothing can live full-time in Space so you have a stake in Earth. We don’t have another 45 years! NOW, is “full” of opportunities! We have done leadership, it is old. We want to be leader-full and we need you. “It’s Our Turn To Lead” is not a theme, it’s our awakening.   Aiyi’nah  D. Ford, Associate Director of Earth Day