Colleen Sharkey | April 15, 2020
Climate change has been a hot-button issue for decades and has ramped up in recent years, culminating in the September 2019 Climate Strike — reportedly the largest climate demonstration in world history, drawing upwards of four million protesters across an estimated 185 countries. Today’s activists are building on the work done by environmental pioneers in the late 60s and early 70s that led to the first Earth Day, which was then the largest organized demonstration in human history. The momentum of that day led to the creation of the EPA and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species acts. Fifty years later, how did that one day make a difference?
In a first-of-its-kind study, released by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) today, University of Notre Dame Professor of Economics Daniel Hungerman and graduate student Vivek Moorthy investigated the long-term effects of that momentous eco-celebration, studying how the event and the weather that day affected people’s attitudes toward conservation and their health years later.
“Our results are significant as they contrast with the conventional depiction of Earth Day having quickly dissipating effects on attitudes,” Hungerman said. “We show that purely voluntary environmental action can lead to important improvements in health and well-being years and even decades later. In the future, we’d like to apply our approach to other large-scale voluntary events.”
Read more here.