Fun fact: Did you know there is actually an Earth Day anthem? I didn’t either, until I started thinking about this blog post. Apparently, itphoto is set to Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.”

Just like Mother’s Day, once a year we pull out all the stops to let Mom know how much we love her, which–in my opinion–misses the mark by 364 days. Similarly, we pull out and dust off the concept of Earth Day once a year, and concerned folks plan events and take to the streets in different ways to get the message of sustainability out to a broader audience.

I am a marketing person at heart, and nothing speaks to me more clearly than a well-executed campaign to brand a concept and increase public knowledge and awareness. So I agree that the message and intent of Earth Day is critically important (not just to us but more to our kids, and their kids). That message is getting through, and it’s ringing true for the youngest of generations.

My children are very concerned about sustainability–about recycling and pollution and baby animals everywhere (see accompanying art, copyright Sofia, age 9).The message will grow wider and deeper with each successive generation, and that is a very good thing.

But there is certainly recognition that we can’t wait for my 9-year-old to effect. We understand many of the challenges we face, and we can make changes to positively affect outcomes now.

The parking industry’s reaction to sustainability (until fairly recently) has been a reactive or responsive one. However, change is coming, and fast.

Committed leadership and dedicated volunteers are shifting our approach to a proactive one.  The International Parking Institute formally adopted its Sustainability Framework at the 2012 IPI Conference & Expo, and this year, opportunities abound to get engaged in Fort Lauderdale.

The Green Parking Council will release the Certified Green Garage Program for public comment today. IPI and the National Parking Association (NPA) are nearly finished a groundbreaking publication on parking and sustainability due out this summer. Each of these positive and meaningful leaps forward can propel us to a more radical position–one in which the parking and transportation industry helps lead the sustainability movement well into the future.

That vision and leadership is going to take 365 days a year.