Grist's "Screw Earth Day!" Campaign Stirs Debate Among Environmental Community

Grist Urges Public to Make Every Day Earth Day with Free Download of 'Wake Up and Smell the Planet' and Sweepstakes for Free Trip to Bonnaroo Music Festival

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Grist's irreverent Screw Earth Day! campaign has inspired a fresh look at the annual Earth Day celebration as its 39th anniversary approaches. The promotion has sparked lively debate on numerous Blogs and websites, stirring up feelings throughout the environmental movement.

This, in a way, is understandable, as some people's feelings run very high when it looks as if someone is attacking some of their cherished things. A bit like making the same statement about Christmas or Easter for Christians, though neither Christmas not Easter are the real dates as to the events, though that may not be relevant here in this context.

Grist, the nation's leading online source for environmental news and information, launched the Screw Earth Day! campaign on April 9 to underscore the importance that one day of action each year is not sufficient to address the pressing needs threatening our warming globe.

"In many cases, Earth Day has been reduced to a sort of planetary sound bite," said Chip Giller, founder and CEO of Grist. "Well, we think that bites. Our campaign is sending the message that it's time to wake up and smell the planet: the environmental challenges of today require us to treat every day as an Earth day. One day is for amateurs."

Grist has published a special editorial series, "Does Earth Day Really Matter?", that explores the green movement's conflicted feelings over Earth Day. And Grist has rolled out – as a special treat – a new series of Ask Umbra videos on that are sure to make Earth Day blush.

Grist is encouraging new users to sign up for daily and weekly news updates by providing two compelling incentives: a free download of its popular, award-winning book Wake Up and Smell the Planet: The Non-Pompous, Non-Preachy Grist Guide to Greening Your Day; and a free trip for two (including round-trip airfare, full festival passes and carbon offsets) to Bonnaroo, the popular music and arts festival that has a long-standing commitment to sustainability.

To download a free copy of Wake Up and Smell the Planet and enter the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival sweepstakes, register at

With a fresh spin on environmental news and views, Grist informs, inspires, and links America's next generation of green citizens. Founded in April 1999, Grist has developed the most recognizable voice in environmental journalism: funny, opinionated, and intelligent. Grist offers in-depth reporting, news analysis, opinions, and practical advice -- all tailored to inform, entertain, provoke, and encourage its users to think creatively about environmental problems and solutions.

Each month, Grist reaches more than 800,000 unique individuals through its website and e-mails, and it has enjoyed particular success among readers in their 20s and 30s. Through partnerships with major media outlets such as MSN, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, and Yahoo!, Grist is reaching an even broader audience that extends into the millions. Grist has been featured in The New York Times, Newsweek, Time, Vanity Fair, and dozens of other major media outlets worldwide, and was recently ranked as a top green website by both Time and The London Guardian.

This call to make every day Earth Day is, on the other hand, much like the one that we often hear, and rightly so, to make every day Mother's Day, for instance, and I would agree with both. In fact Earth Day is, in a way, the day of our Earth Mother and we should honor her not just once a year but every day of the year.

At times one has to be controversial to wake people up and this on more than one level and it may be that this just may have done it.

Also, with one day, often it seems to be a case that everyone, individuals, groups, organizations, businesses, up to government level, all want to do something on Earth Day. Once it is gone, however, it is more often than not “business as usual” and that cannot continue.

While everyone jumps on the bandwagon just before Earth Day the great promises seem to could for nothing once the day is done and dusted until next year, maybe. Everyone makes promises and pledges, much like New Year's Resolutions, only to forget about them a few days after.

Make Every Day Earth Day should be our motto and the way we work.

I must say that I am not sure what i am supposed to make of the “free download” thing because I registered on the Grist site and upon verification was directed to the supposed download page for the book “ Wake Up and Smell the Planet” but all I got was an error that said that the page cannot be found.

Now, in my mind then forms the question when things like that happen as to whether this is but a gimmick to get people sign up on a site. I have emailed Grist an informed them of this and currently am awaiting a response. Am I holding my breath? No, is the short answer.

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