Mercury Momentum has adopted a 3-armed philosophy to embody Earth Day and guide the event:
The Natural World – to respect, protect, explore and engage in the Nature of the planet
Green Technologies – to explore and expand interest, understanding and support for innovations that are cleaner, healthier and more sustainable for the future
Many Cultures – to respect and explore different perspectives on what Earth Day means, including views on science, policy, culture, spirit, lifestyles, and/or economics
We continually try to balance the event between these 3 arms and develop new programs to expand each direction.
Reno Earth Day also attempts to uphold a philosophy of inclusiveness in order to maximize the reach of Earth Day messages and changes in habits and assumptions over a broader audience. The role of the organizers is not to judge different perspectives, but to optimize the forum for so many people – so many puzzle pieces – to come together, learn from each other and share community cathexis and education. Inclusiveness is extended to how we reach other volunteers and organization, how we design the layouts for different types of exhibitors and how we attempt to diversify the audience. We try not to judge what we think participants should do, but try to maximize the opportunities for them to learn and choose a better way to act. We have over 100 non-profit groups participating with the freedom to advocate, rally and maintain a myriad of “should” voices. Our process is to simply keep it fair and fun for so many perspectives involved, support and assist the plans of participating organizations and help the puzzle pieces fit together smoothly.
By expanding how we include all participants, we have expanded the audience and its diversity. The benefits of this approach are to have more educational impact, creating even more positive change. An event like this could run the risk of attracting mainly like-minded individuals, who already know of most environmental initiatives, technologies and resources, and already practice strong sustainable lifestyles. Therefore, the change inspired by the event could remain minimal and be defined by others’ as simply a “special interest.” By attracting a wider, more diverse audience that may not already know about these things, the opportunity for change is greater; even a small change of practice or habit in a larger audience equates to greater overall impact. Our goal is to exemplify that stewardship of the planet we share is not a “special Interest;” it affects us all, so we need to create greater momentum by involving more people. The event is then designed to maximize the educational opportunities at the event – both interactive and passive – so that once we get people there, they cannot help but learn something.
There are a multitude of perspectives on what Earth Day means. For some, it is about sustainable technologies and science, for some it is about connections with nature and conservation, for some it is about social and/or political change, in numerous philosophies it is about spiritual connections with the planet, for others it is about healthy living and lifestyle, and yet others about sustainable economic practices, while others emphasize tolerance and a planet-wide neighborhood. For some people education in these areas is key, for others it is policy change and activism, and for others it is celebration and expression of these connections. We see our purpose with this event is ensuring there is a forum for all of those perspectives to come together without judging any. We are amazed with how tolerant and cooperative so many perspectives are on this day to come together and make this event happen. ALL of the educational programs, booths, activities and workshops are put on by one of the exhibitors. We continue to create the structures to ensure a balance of education, expression, vending and fun, but we are not usually providing the content. We create programs that allow more people and organizations to participate, and try to promote all participants’ messages through media, games, layout and access strategies. Participants – exhibitors, organizations, individuals and sponsors – develop the content. Our role is to make the event and messages as accessible as possible to more people and maintain the balances. There are literally thousands of moving pieces, and we are simply the puzzle masters making sure they function together(as well as we can) and as fairly as possible, while the event itself is actually “put on by” all of the participants. All Volunteers and planners should add that to your resumes – Puzzlemasters!