About Pittsburgh Earth Day
After being recognized in FORBES Magazine as a “triumphant success” in green design and technology, the City of Pittsburgh is finding ways to celebrate the city’s innovations in sustainability. The Green Voice, working with the City of Pittsburgh and key partners, has developed an initiative open to all in the region who want to celebrate a resilient city and a more sustainable Pittsburgh.
“In the forefront of green inventiveness and leadership, Pittsburgh is an astounding display of innovation, design and the arts – this city’s transformation is a resounding success.” – Forbes Magazine
Pittsburgh Earth Day is a citywide celebration of advancements made in sustainability, technology, and innovation where people live, work, and play. We live our motto, Earth Day, Every Day®!
History & Mission
Pittsburgh Earth Day was developed and presented as a series of innovative programming to celebrate Pittsburgh’s legacy of green and sustainable advancements. For the past nine years, we’ve offered educational, entertaining events to promote Earth Day in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh Earth Day holds an IRS 501 (c)3 designation.
Pittsburgh Earth Day’s mission is to celebrate, educate, promote, and inspire action around issues of sustainability, environmentalism, and conservation. Our vision is to create unique, educational, transformational events, and opportunities that celebrate sustainability in the region. We also seek to encourage changed habits that better support a healthy planet. We plan to grow the offerings of Pittsburgh Earth Day to be ongoing, to truly live our motto of Earth Day, Every Day®.
Pittsburgh’s Transformation from a Steel to Sustainable City
Back in the early 1980s, when Pittsburgh lost 120,000 jobs from the steel industry in a very short period of time, the region faced a crisis. Businesses, civic leaders, and residents had no choice but to go through an intense period of hardship and self-reflection.
This dark period had a silver lining; it brought people together and spurred creative thinking and resiliency. Pittsburghers rolled up their sleeves and set out on a new course. Over the last three decades, the region’s economic transformation and growth have been nothing short of jaw-dropping. And the change has been recognized internationally.
The zenith of this recognition may have come in 2009 when Pittsburgh’s transformation was acknowledged by President Barack Obama. The President picked Pittsburgh as the host city of the Group of 20 Summit. He declared that the city was fully part of a new global, ecological economy. In June of that year, the world turned its eyes on the world’s leaders deliberating in a city rebuilding with muscles and brains.
Recognition continues from the nation’s most respected media and institutions. Researchers from Harvard, writers from Forbes, editors from The Atlantic, and others praise Pittsburgh as a top city in America to live, work, and play. What was once described by James Parton as “Hell with the lid off!” is now described as “most livable,” “most resilient,” and “positioned well to deal with today’s environmental challenges.”
For those who live here, the signs of a healthy economy and improving the environment are all around. The Transformation and Movement of our City from a Steel to Sustainable Greener and Greater Pittsburgh:
- Ranks as a leader in the nation in the number of LEED-certified buildings.
- Revitalizes riverfronts with a growing number of walkable and bikeable spaces.
- Moves to more complete streets with continuous bike-pedestrian connections.
- Boasts a major increase in bike commuting since 2000, the largest jump of any city in the nation.
- Relies on over 50 organizations performing climate actions.
- Offers cleaner rivers and fights for clean air.
Pittsburgh also boasts many green building firsts, including two of the first 12 green buildings to be LEED-certified in the nation. Other green building firsts include:
- First Green Convention Center – David L. Lawrence Convention Center
- First Green Financial Institution – PNC Firstside Center
- First Green Children’s Museum – Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh
- First Green University Dance Studio – Point Park University Dance Complex
- First Green Welcome Center in a Public Garden – Phipps Conservatory Welcome Center
- First Green Smithsonian Property – Senator John Heinz History Center
- First Green Radio Station – Pittsburgh Community Broadcast Center by WYEP
- First Green Food Bank – Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank
- First Green University Dormitory – Carnegie Mellon University Stever House
- First Green Public Arts Facility – Pittsburgh Glass Center
In recent years, Pittsburgh has been ranked the fifth Most Resilient City in the World, beating out cities like Stockholm. The London-based Grosvenor Group acknowledged the region’s moxie developed from the collapse of the steel industry and how it forged a community ready to deal with adversity. If Pittsburgh can bounce back from a major decline in manufacturing, it is poised to deal with other crises including those posed by climate change.
Earth Day is a commitment to economic growth and sustainability join hands. Celebrations are planned around the world. Can anyone think of a better place to be than in Pittsburgh?
How Earth Day Began
In 1969, Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, proposed the first nationwide Earth Day to help put environmental issues onto the national agenda. A year later, on April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day was celebrated throughout the country. An estimated 20 million Americans participated in events calling for a healthy, sustainable environment. Earth Day is now celebrated each year on April 22nd and is held worldwide, demonstrating global support for environmental protection.
Earth Day Pittsburgh Style
Throughout the years, area residents have celebrated Earth Day in the towns and municipalities they call home. From the Pittsburgh Zoo to Ellwood City to Mt. Lebanon, dedicated citizens have worked to promote what is healthier and more sustainable about the community they love. Earth Day has been powered by Pittsburghers, going back to the early 1970s.
Since our inception, we’ve produced signature events in celebration of Pittsburgh Earth Day and World Environment Day, including Go Green in Market Square, Sustainable Business Breakfast, PNC Lunch x Learn, The Ecolution Fashion Gala, and the Arts, Music & Culture Festival. We will also have exhibitors, pop-up markets, speakers, music, food, and much more. We want to make it a recognized event for future years similar to the Three Rivers Arts Festival, Pittsburgh Marathon, and Light Up Night.
We invite you to make history and be a part of this inclusive Earth Day. Help move us all toward a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable Pittsburgh.