Earth Day festivities set for Saturday

Photo courtesy Southwest Organization for Sustainability
A classic Earth Day photo from the Southwest Organization for Sustainability’s archives. This is the culmination of the 2016 March for Earth Day down Pagosa Street with kids, balloons and signs as participants listen to speakers. This year’s celebrate will take place at Centennial Park Saturday, April 23, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

By Pauline Benetti | Southwest Organization for Sustainability

So, why celebrate Earth Day? It is amazing given the gravity of the consequences that we need to be reminded, but we do. Business as usual is too easily and comfortably slipped into. There is no Planet B, at least not in the short run and not without a lot of science. And in the meantime, life on Planet A is becoming increasingly problematic. 

So, we celebrate Earth Day as a yearly (at least) reminder that change is critical both in our individual and collective acts to avoid the inevitable. This year, we celebrate on Saturday, April 23, in Centennial Park from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

As prelude to the real Earth Day on Friday, April 22, our community experienced two earlier extraordinarily successful events which suggest that our community is becoming increasingly engaged in thoughtful action. The first event, the Food Coalition’s food summit — all about growing and producing food locally — was attended by more than 100 people who expressed via survey their intense interest in growing/producing and learning more about both. The second event, the Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership’s (GGP) film festival — a selection of environmentally focused documentaries — was equally well attended and hosted some interesting and thoughtful conversations regarding our path forward. 

We will celebrate Earth Day on Saturday, April 23. Come to Centennial Park at 10 a.m. for an Opening Earth Blessing in the GGP amphitheater; a closing will follow at 1 p.m. 

In between, enjoy music by Acoustic Picnic, and at 1 p.m. Futurefolk will continue with an open-mic musical experience into the afternoon. 

For the kids, there will be Solar Car Races at 11 a.m.; for everyone, there will be docent-led wetland walks at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. leaving from the Native Plant Garden and Meditation at the San Juan Riverside from 12:30 to 1 p.m. 

Everyone, but especially kids, are encouraged to create and wear costumes in celebration of the day. The GGP domes and Native Plant Garden will be open for walk-in visits.

Add to the above attractions the coming together of an amazing number of organizations and businesses and individuals in a show of solidarity and support for the tremendous task before us. Come see how these Earth Day participants each in their own way also participate in the solution.

There is still time to join the program if you are interested. Please email for information.

There is a lot to see and do and all very good reasons to be outside on a beautiful sunny spring day. Should weather turn impossible and require cancellation of our event, check the Southwest Organization for Sustainability (SOS) website,, for an announcement. 

Helpful acts

Regarding ways individuals can act, we reproduce here the 21 acts for 2021 updated to 2022. Let’s see if we can check off a few more acts over last year. 

Use of energy: Change all your light bulbs to LED, plug large electronics into a smart power strip, check weatherproofing on windows and doors; get an energy audit. 

Use of water: Switch to reusable water bottles, install a low-flow showerhead, install a toilet buddy, recycle gray water. 

Use of food: Compost your food and yard waste, grow your own food, shop at your local Pagosa Farmers Market. 

Handle waste: Recycle glass, metal, plastic, paper; deny all plastic bags; shop at our local thrift stores; purchase sustainable toothbrush; switch from paper towels to reusable rags; switch to recycled paper or bamboo paper toilet paper. 

Ecology practices: Use native birdseed in your feeder, install a solitary beehive “hotel,” plant native plants. 

This list is destined for a permanent place on and the SOS welcomes the addition of your individual acts not found here. Email to