ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Greenwash Day

World Environment Day has been captured by corporate interests.

One of the many innovations of the late 19th century was that a particular day of the year would be marked to commemorate a particular cause or idea. The workingmen’s day or Labour Day came up in the late 19th century to demand workers’ rights and foreground the eight-hour working day; International Women’s Day became an event in the early 2oth century highlighting the demand for equal pay and universal suffrage. The marking of a day named after a particular section of the population or a particular political cause or even a slogan could be seen as a secular festival and was used to remember and rally supporters, amplify and spread the central message of the movement. More generally it provided an occasion for public expression of political affiliation. Such “Days” also helped build wider solidarities among the citizenry and over the course of the 20th century have shown how useful they can be to pressure state institutions and governments to concede to the main ­demands and slogans of the movement.

The success of some of these days led to a rash of them in the post-second world war era to mark particular events and institutions, starting from United Nations Day to International ­Children’s Day to World Health Day, among many others. Later, in the 1970s came a slew of days foregrounding environmental concerns with Earth Day first being celebrated in 1970 and World Environment Day being started in 1972. What is interesting is that most of these post-1945 days originated from within state institutions or global institutions, whose massive bureau­cracies were deployed to popularise them.

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