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Reflecting on Earth Day 2016

It’s been more than 46 years since a group of people began an experiment that started small and has grown into a worldwide movement that focuses on encouraging ways to operate in a way that saves the environment.

Although the first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970, it was officially launched in Canada in 1990 as part of an international outreach. Now some six million Canadians—including nearly every school-aged child—participate in Earth Day activities in their communities. Organizers partner with and support hundreds of organizations across the country, as they engage Canadians in annual celebrations of this special day.

Twenty years earlier, when Earth Day debuted, it was a time when motorists used leaded gas, drove massive V8 sedans, and much of industry was content to belch out polluted smoke and operate in a manner that seems abhorrent today.

It was just a year after a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara that led to the idea of Earth Day, the thought being that the same kind of energy that inspired the student anti-war movement might be harnessed to help heal the world from ourselves.

While Earth Day also led to the creation of a number of key pieces of legislation, it was its international reach, including to Canada that now has some 200 million people in 141 countries taking up the cause.

It also gave a huge boost to worldwide recycling efforts and led to the United Nations Earth Day Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

What will our legacy be after another 46 years? It really is up to all of us, as individuals and business leaders, who have the opportunity to leave this world a better (and cleaner) place.

More and more of us are now able to demonstrate how taking advantage of items like National Gift Card ecodes can be more effective than ever before, with eco-friendly retailers like Whole Foods and iTunes coming to mind as leaders in this option.

How will your company celebrate Earth Day in 2016 and in years to come?

One of the most powerful ways to maintain the momentum is to spread stories of how even one person or one example helped make a difference or set an example.

We’d love to hear yours.