By Pauline Benetti
Southwest Organization for Sustainability
This year we will celebrate Earth Day. The community has spoken. As of press time, some 31 local organizations, businesses and individuals have made contact with the Southwest Organization for Sustainability event organizers and most of them will have a presence at the event to take place on Saturday, April 24, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Because of the times we are in, organizers are placing a premium on safety; the event will be outside and will be one-way directional and celebrants will be asked to maintain safe social distance. It will take place on the Riverwalk loop beginning at Town Hall and returning to Town Hall via Hot Springs Boulevard. Along this loop, Earth Day celebrants will have a chance to celebrate the many entities in our small community that in their own way support a sustainable way of life, learn about their efforts and join in if suitable. Children will find fun handouts and activities. Organizers advise everyone to check the weather and dress appropriately.
While the last year’s 50th anniversary Earth Week Celebration had to be canceled right in the middle of preparations for a huge event, due to COVID, the 2019 week was an astounding week-long series of events bringing our community out in numbers to celebrate the planet. This year’s planning is more conservative, but nonetheless offers the community an opportunity to show its support for a healthy planet.
It is “We the people” who must stand up in the face of the monumental task of ensuring that our planet remains a healthy home for all species now and forever.
A brief historical review will show how effective “We the people” have been. April 22 will be the 51st celebration of Earth Day, which began in 1970 with a demonstration by 20 million Americans and has resulted in the passing of legislation.
The Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species acts all came out of this effort. In 1990, Earth Day went global, with 200 million people in 141 countries participating. Today, more than 1 billion people from 192 countries participate.
For the international events of this year, check www.earthday.org. This year’s campaign theme is “Restore the Earth” and will begin on April 20 with a global youth climate summit led by Earth Uprising, in collaboration with My Future My Voice, OneMillionOfUs and hundreds of youth climate activists.
On April 21, Education International will lead the “Teach for the Planet: Global Education Summit.” This multilingual virtual summit will span several time zones and feature prominent activists from every continent, focused on the crucial role that educators play in combating climate change and why we need transformative climate education now.
On April 22, Earth Day, parallel to the Biden administration’s global climate summit, earthday.org will have its Earth Day Live digital event beginning at noon eastern time. Workshops, panel discussions and special performances will focus on “Restore Our Earth” and cover natural processes, emerging green technologies and innovative thinking that can restore the world’s ecosystems.