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Earth Day 2019: A time for action on climate change, increased environmental awareness

General Foundation News

Next Monday marks the 49th annual celebration of Earth Day, a day to acknowledge the importance of clean air, vibrant waters, and productive land in sustaining life.  Since the first Earth Day in 1970, it has been a day to demand action to reduce pollution that compromises people’s health and quality of life. Today that also includes a call for action to aggressively reduce the emissions that cause climate change and accelerate efforts to ensure all communities can enjoy the benefits of clean energy technologies.


The organizing and momentum catalyzed by the first Earth Day resulted in important policy victories, including adoption of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act – statutes which remain fundamental to the environmental protection framework in the U.S. and which require vigilant defense in the current political era.

The environmental movement’s agenda has broadened over time to recognize the historic injustices communities of color and low-income communities have experienced. Activists of color have grown in power and influence to shape our understanding of what environmental work looks like and whose leadership is necessary to bring about needed change in the practices, systems, and laws that influence personal-, public- and environmental-health outcomes.

As Earth Day approaches, The Kresge Foundation is grateful for the courageous and sustained leadership of the nonprofit organizations we support. They are tackling climate change mitigation and adaptation and framing their work in ways that resonate with their communities.  Our Environment team’s Earth Day gift to you is to share a few of the reading materials that have shaped our thinking.  They include:

We hope you enjoy them.

— Lois DeBacker, managing director, Environment Program