The History of Earth Day & Making Sustainable Decisions for Your Trade Show Program

April 19, 2022

This year on April 22, we will celebrate Earth Day. Did you know the first Earth Day took place in 1970? Several factors contributed to the first Earth Day taking place, including Rachel Carson’s bestselling book Silent Spring, an oil spill in California and Senator Nelson from Wisconsin wishing something could be done. Nelson mobilized a large group of student activists to make a change. Nelson was inspired by the anti-war protests that had taken the country by storm and was one of the change agents that made the day possible.

1970 was the culmination of a lot of recent headlines around air and water pollution, as well as other environmental dangers. Nelson collaborated with Republican congressman Pete McCloskey and looped in Denis Hayes, an activist to gather groundswell. Designed to fall mid-week, the original Earth Day drew 20 million Americans into protests and marches. This accounted for 10% of the country’s population at the time.

Earth Day became the catalyst for the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under President Nixon and the numerous environmental laws that followed. Earth Day has since gathered a global following with many millions celebrating each year. We celebrated the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in 2020, this year will be the 52nd annual.  

Earth Day is a good reminder for us all about the power of activism, the importance of our planet and what we can do to make a difference in our communities.

Steelhead is celebrating Earth Day by donating 5 trees per Steelheader to One Tree Planted’s continual reforestation efforts and giving their employees the day off to give back to the planet with their friends and family however they choose.  

If you’re wondering how to celebrate Earth Day and keep an environmental frame of mind, start with making your events more sustainable.  

Here are three tips to get you started.  

  1. Support eco-friendly hotels, lodgings and transportation. If you’re going to travel to an event, make sure you’ve covered multiple sustainability bases. Check to see if your hotel is LEED-certified and what their environmental practices are. Opt out of sheet and towel changes and turn off lights when you leave. If you don’t have to, don’t rent a car for use during the conference or event. Utilize public transportation and walking while you’re on site at a venue.  
  1. Limit extra stuff and giveaways. Instead of giving away something plastic or tangible to booth visitors, figure out how to connect digitally. There are other ways to make an impression without giving extra phone cases or lanyards that will most likely end up in landfill. Take a page out of our book and plant a tree for each lead.  
  1. Choose the access model for your booth. The events industry is notoriously wasteful, with over 600,000 pounds of waste created annually. A lot of that is booth waste and turnover from the need to create new booths each year. By choosing to participate in the Access Model, you can get a fresh look for your booth each year and reduce waste. At Steelhead, booths are made mainly with reusable materials and assets that are owned by Steelhead, not landfilled. It's a win-win.  

While Earth Day takes place each year on April 22, Steelhead is committed to sustainable practices year round. Learn more about our sustainable practices with our B Corp certification and the access model.

Eliza Erskine is the founder of Green Buoy Consulting, a sustainability consultancy focused on small & early-stage companies.

April 19, 2022
October 3, 2023
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