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Daniel Goleman is a former science journalist for the New York Times and co-founder of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning at the Yale University Child Studies Center (now[…]

The author says there is nothing special about Earth Day per se.

Question: Where is the environmental movement today?

Daniel Goleman: Well, I think that the old kind of [IB] model of environmentalists versus big government, big business is really not functional, that we need to find a way… I was just with a remarkable Lama.  His name is Karmapa.  He’s talked about as maybe the successor to the Dalai Lama.  And he’s very involved in the environment.  And he came up with this symbol, which are 2 hands clasp like this, you know, man and nature.  But I think we also need environmentalists in industry in a synergistic fashion, working together.  And now, that we have the ability to help a multitude of individuals make better choices, they will shift market shares so that companies have to do the right thing.  We finally found the synergism.  


Question: Does Earth Day accomplish anything?

Daniel Goleman: I don’t think that Earth Day per se has a really very great positive direct impact.  I think what it does is raise in the collective awareness like Christmas or Halloween, that we all ought to be doing something right now, we should regard something, we should pay attention something in a certain way.  And with that collective awareness, comes all kinds of activities that can, specifically, have great impact on people, you know.  You know, our city for Earth Day, we’re doing a clean up of the meadow that has all the plastic bags or whatever.  Those concrete hands-on acts have a lot of impact on people who get involved in them.  But Earth Day per se, I think, is not that interesting.