Is Earth Day literally on your calendar?At the age of 38, Earth Day is more popular than ever, but it still doesn’t receive any fanfare on the walls of millions of offices and homes.
“The largest, most celebrated environmental event worldwide,” according to Calendar-updates.com, isn’t worth a mention on some of the millions of calendars printed each year.
Raquel Garcia, spokeswoman for the Earth Day Network, said she doesn’t know what percentage of calendars include that Earth Day is April 22.
“It’s very random,” Garcia said, before examining her own desk to find that only one of her two calendars listed Earth Day.
Earth Day is included on hundreds of thousands of calendars Zebra Publishing sends out each year, said Betsy Atin, publishing manager for Zebra, which prints calendars for 98 different customers, including titles for National Geographic and the Smithsonian.
The only exceptions are calendars that don’t have grids containing each day’s date, said Atin, who made the decision to include Earth Day when she joined the company eight years ago.
“It’s just something everybody should be conscious of,” she said.
Although Atin admits there’s a certain diplomacy to deciding which holidays to include, she’s never received complaints about Earth Day, while some Muslim holidays have drawn ire from customers in the past.
“We go [with different holidays] based on a lot of customer feedback and a lot of hair tugging and what we can live with conscientiously,” Atin said.
While the Sports Illustrated swimsuit calendar will always emphasize photographs over civic engagement, and doesn’t include Earth Day, you’d expect the 2008 Outdoor Photographer Magazine Landscape Calendar to include a mention. But Westcliffe Publishers made no notation and did not respond to a request for comment on the decision to exclude Earth Day.
If you’re the owner of BrownTrout’s Dachshund Puppies 2008 calendar, ranked as a favorite among dog lovers at www.calendars.com, your April spread will include a picture of a dachshund pup playing with rubber duckies and a mention of Earth Day.
“We’ve always included Earth Day on our calendars for 22 years because we’re huge environmentalists,” said Wendover Brown, publisher of BrownTrout, which prints 20 percent of calendars sold in the United States.
Practical considerations also come into play, such as where the calendar will eventually be sold, the need to include major religious and civic holidays, and trying to keep the grid from becoming too cluttered, Brown said.
“Now you’ve got a lot of holidays cited in a little box that everyone wants to write their dentist appointment in,” Brown said.
Some industry insiders said the green news in calendars is a shift toward more eco-friendly printing practices.
“I’m afraid we don’t actually track data on what percentage of calendars include Earth Day or when Earth Day first started to appear in them,” said Jessica Maier, content director of Calendars.com. “I can tell you that we have seen an increase in the number of publishers that now offer some type of ‘green’ calendar.”
The Web site plans to offer 14 eco-friendly calendars for 2009, twice as many as last year, Maier said. That collection will include “101 Little Ways to Save Our Planet” and “Living Green: 365 Ways to Make a Difference.”
Calendars.com also plans to offer three calendars from Avalanche Publishing that will be printed on all-recycled paper with soy-based ink, Maier said.
Of my two calendars, one mentions today is Earth Day. The other doesn’t. How about yours?