By Claire Downs
It’s Earth Day, the day to celebrate our planet’s natural beauty, or as stoners call it, “the other Earth Day, the one after 4/20.” You might spend the day finding your inner hippie or thwarting advances from members of the opposite sex suggesting “we should shower together…you know…for like…the Earth.” Most of us will spend it pretending to know what we can and can’t recycle while reading Tweets from major corporations trying desperately to be relevant.
— Domino's Pizza (@dominos) April 22, 2015
Regardless of how you spend your Earth Day, we can all agree that the holiday reached its peak in the 90s. There were countless recycling PSAs, characters on TV taking a minute to talk about the “real issues” affecting the Earth, Captain Planet, and songs all about trying to keep the Earth green (and neon pink, apparently). Here are some videos to help you celebrate Earth Day, ’90s style!
Workin’ Together – The Planet Raps Back
Taking place at what looks to be the set of Sesame Street at nighttime, this magical music video features a temporarily formed rap supergroup called “The Planet Raps Back” made of Quincy Jones, Will Smith, Tone Loc, Queen Latifah, Ice T, Kid N Play, and Heavy D.
You bought a new house?! It’s on a landfill!
Recycle Rex – “Recycle, Reduce, Reuse” 1991
You might vaguely remember this video appearing before cartoons on Saturday mornings, or as a tie-in with Captain Planet. These dinos were not part of any specific cartoon, per-say, but they were there just to share the message about recycling and “closing the loop.” If this doesn’t ring a bell, I highly recommend staying for the rap at :50.
Recycling with John Ritter
John Ritter appears in this recycling PSA as an inexplicably angry businessman who walks around neighborhoods wearing kneepads and a lot of eyeliner sorting other peoples’ trash. At least I think that’s what’s going on here.
The Ninja Turtles Take On Plastic Rings
It’s a beautiful spring day and the Ninja Turtles are having a picnic, when all of a sudden, Leonardo jumps into a nearby pond. Is he going swimming? Nope. He has a message to kids about six pack rings.
The Golden Girls Want to Help
Taken from the 1990 Earth Day Special on ABC, this meta segment features the Golden Girls philosophizing on what they can do to help. Betty White is the most optimistic, suggesting that “Poly-styrene foam can be used for LOTS of things!” including cases for video tapes. Note the Neil Patrick Harris cameo at the beginning!.
Mother Nature Is Dying!
This cheerfully macabre jingle reminds you through the gift of song that “the planet is dying” and “mother nature is choking” while featuring the official sport of the 1990s, roller blading.
Earth Day at Disney World ’95
Earth Day apparently peaked back in 1995 when Disney World hosted a TV show chock-full of 90s stars doing skits about Earth Day! We’re talkin’ John Travolta, Ed Begley Jr., The Rembrants, Steve Guttenberg, Chevy Chase, Zachary Ty Bryan, and Shaq. Honestly, it’s one big WTF. Luckily the following video is just the highlights.
(cut together via Everything is Terrible)
Yakety-Yak–Take it Back
What do you get when you take a 50s song, add an R&B beat, and make Bette Midler, Ozzy Osbourne, Stevie Wonder, Barry White, Queen Latifah, Randy Newman, Pat Benatar, Dr. John, Natalie Cole, and Kenny Loggins sing it? You get Yakety-Yak–Take it Back! a star-studded PSA that aired at movie-theaters and apparently had a 50-minute extended cut that was shown in schools. It also features Bugs Bunny and an ill-conceived cat rapper named MC Skat Cat.
Don’t be no square, don’t be no chump,
Don’t make this Earth a garbage dump,
The planet screams, ’No more funk!’
There’s no more room for no more junk.