Earth is a tier-one planet

Earth Day should be a blue-chip holiday

Celebrate Sacramento Earth Day 2013 at Southside Park on Sunday, April 21. Visit for more info.
Jeff vonKaenel is the president, CEO and majority owner of the News & Review newspapers in Sacramento, Chico and Reno. His column, Greenlight, appears weekly in this space.

This Monday, April 22, I will be celebrating my 34th Earth Day. Now, as a holiday, Earth Day has had some good years and some really bad years. But in general, Earth Day has been a second-tier holiday, behind such monster celebrations as Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, New Year's Day and, of course, Christmas. But at least it's still staying ahead of such third-rate holidays as Boss's Day.

Why can’t Earth Day make it to the top?

One major reason is the lack of corporate sponsorship. Hallmark, one of the most dependable of holiday sponsors, has expressed little interest in Earth Day. Ignoring Earth Day, Hallmark continues to support losers like Boss’s Day and Administrative Professionals Day (which, by the way, is coming up on April 24).

And a day cannot be a blue-chip holiday without significant corporate backing. Where would Valentine’s Day be without Kay Jewelers, Mother’s Day without See’s Candies and Christmas without just about every top retail business lending their support?

If Earth Day is going to climb to the top tier, it must line up some major corporate backing. This will be difficult, but not impossible. We need to think creatively. I think New York Life Insurance Company should do a campaign: “Protect both your children’s future and their Earth.” Or environmentally friendly Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. could run a campaign: “Your beer for the future—drink Pale Ale on Earth Day!” The list of potential corporate sponsors is endless. But we need to make it a reality.

Elevating Earth Day’s profile does have some unique challenges. Earth Day is the only holiday that has a major television network attacking it. This is both odd and sad. I am, of course, referring to global warming and Fox News. Any rational, objective person would see that motherhood and global warming have roughly the same scientific probability, obviously. Yet only Earth Day has to face countless so-called news stories challenging its very existence. If Fox News used the same journalistic methods to investigate motherhood, we would be seeing a barrage of news stories such as, “Does motherhood actually exist? These middle schoolers in Davenport say no.” We would be able to learn how numerous eighth graders don’t think they are related to their mothers.

The New York Times and other media would then, in all fairness, be obligated to run stories such as, “Does motherhood exist? Some say yes and some say no.” I can only imagine the damage this type of coverage would do to Mother’s Day.

Despite its second-tier status as a holiday, our future depends on the Earth’s survival. Please enjoy this special Earth Day issue of the News & Review. And please come by the Sacramento Earth Day celebration at Southside Park (located at 2115 Sixth Street near U Street) on Sunday, April 21, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Earth Day may be a tier-two holiday, but the Earth is a tier-one planet.