When it comes to the climate crisis, there’s no shortage of problems to tackle. From damaging air pollution to fatal droughts, heatwaves, and wildfires – the need to inspire global action against the many challenges facing our planet is not a topic up for debate.

However, one question that can be disputed on a day like today – that being Earth Day – is exactly what purpose environmental days such as these are serving? 

When you take a look at their history, over the years these events have undoubtedly served a crucial role. With Earth Day in particular, leading to the passing of the landmark Clean Air Act, among many other vital laws. But over half a century later, are we as an industry simply riding on the coattails of these events to serve our own agendas?

You see it all the time in PR. From Blue Monday all the way through to Black Friday, if you really seek it out, every date in the calendar can bring new opportunities to shoehorn your clients’ point of views into the media. But just because we can, does that mean we should be doing so? 

As comms professionals, we know just how difficult it can be to achieve cut-through on an average day, competing with thousands of other companies to successfully sell-in our stories to increasingly time and resource stretched journalists. 

But take a moment to imagine yourself on the other side of the computer. Imagine, you’re that journalist receiving 200+ press releases on a “quiet” day. Imagine just how difficult it must be to navigate through a sea of seemingly pointless emails when so many companies all have the same idea to find a tenuous link between Earth Day and their company news.

It certainly begs the question, somewhere along the way have we lost sight of the real meaning behind days like these?

This year, the theme of Earth Day is “Invest in our Planet” – with the overall ambition of encouraging individuals, businesses, and governments to invest in technologies and practices that can benefit our world. But if organisations are just using such events to promote their own agendas, in reality how much time is being spent making real positive changes?

And perhaps more crucially, if we’re the ones working to promote the “news” of companies that are not acting to educate, inspire, or lobby for systemic change, should we be asking ourselves if we can do better?

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