Eco-AdvocatesThis year marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, and people around the world will take some time out of their typical schedule to honor the importance of thinking about their impact on the environment. As we ramp up for this year’s celebration, I am beginning to see more people complain that Earth Day is used as a crutch by those not otherwise environmentally inclined. By “going green” for Earth Day, these people then feel like they have a free pass for the other 364 days. I look at this from a different perspective. Sure, there are going to be people that think all is good and well when they spend one day out of the year being environmentally conscious. However, I think that there are going to be more people that actually use Earth Day as a jumping point for their go-green journey. Without Earth Day, these people might not ever have a reason to even consider their environmental impact. Instead of griping about Earth Day being overhyped and your everyday citizen using it as a free pass for the rest of the year, I encourage green advocates everywhere to take advantage of the educational opportunities that this day presents. Take the time to pass on your passion about the environment to those outside your circle. You never know whom your message may reach and what that person may do with it. Sure, you are likely to find people who decide to use public transportation on Earth Day and hop in their oversized SUV the next, but you are also likely to find someone who gets the message and steps on the bus again the next day, and the day after that. The point that I’m trying to make is that it is up to those that are already well into their eco-conscious journey to support others as they start their journeys. Think about when you learned to ride a bike. If you were like me, you fell off more than a few times. Instead of just saying, “Ah, well I rode it once,” and never trying again, something about that process led you to get on again, skinned knees, bruised ego and all. So, on this year’s Earth Day, think of yourself as that nurturing and encouraging parent trying to help her child learn how to ride a bike. That parent is passionate about seeing her child succeed and eventually pass this knowledge on to the next generation. When you help guide someone toward more eco-conscious choices, you are doing the same thing — giving them a tool that they can use to pass on to the next generation. If it takes the media sensation surrounding Earth Day to launch this process, so be it.