Simplifying Earth Day 2011: Picnic for the Planet

The first Earth Day in 1970 centered on political activism. In recent years, the event often mirrors something closer to a combination of a state fair and a trade show. Nothing wrong with that: these events likely bring out a much more diverse mix of people than the earliest gatherings. At the same time, current Earth Day celebrations tend to focus on the celebration… even if directly connecting with the natural world gets moved down the list of priorities.

The Nature Conservancy’s Earth Day 2011 campaign, Picnic for the Planet, offers a simple alternative to the mass event: a picnic. The campaign’s site encourages Americans to “Choose a favorite outdoor location, round up some friends and take the planet out to lunch!” While a big part of this campaign focuses on the connection between the food we eat and the planet’s health, it’s also about keeping Earth Day celebrations minimal and focused: enjoying time outdoors with sustainably produced foods and good company.

If you’d like to get involved with a larger group holding a picnic (or start one yourself), TNC has partnered with MeetUp to make arranging an event easy. They’ve also shared recipes from chefs around the US, as well as tips to help you make greener food choices year-round.

Got plans for Earth Day yet? Thinking something simple like this sounds appealing? Let us know…


Image credit: Johan Larsson at Flickr under a Creative Commons license