By Linda Pinkham
Earth Day History
Most people are surprised to learn that the original Earth Day celebration in the U.S. was a bipartisan effort that united city slickers with rural farmers, the wealthy with those of fewer means, and political conservatives with liberals. What a novel idea that the modern environmental movement was founded nearly 50 years ago through cooperative efforts between both major political parties!
Earth Day, celebrated on April 22 each year since 1970, marks the birth of the modern environmental movement. Democrat Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin came up with the idea to have a “national teach-in on the environment” and then convinced Republican Pete McCloskey, former U.S. Congressman from California, to serve as his co-chair. Denis Hayes from Harvard became the national coordinator.
More than 20 million Americans took part in the first celebration on April 22, 1970. It resulted in the birth of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and passage of the Endangered Species, Clean Air, and Clean Water Acts by the U.S. Congress and President Nixon by July of that year.
Since 1990, Earth Day is not only celebrated in the U.S. but worldwide. Today, an estimated billion people participate globally. The Earth Day Network leads Earth Day worldwide. This year’s celebration focuses on “protecting threatened and endangered species by educating people about the accelerating rate of extinction of millions of species and the causes and consequences of the phenomenon.”
*Source: Earth Day Network (https://www.earthday.org/earthday)
Attend a Local Earth Day Event
One of the best ways to learn about our environment and connect with people in your community who are knowledgeable and taking action is to attend a local celebration. Two long-standing and notable Earth Day events are held locally every year.
Sustainapalooza in Klamath Falls April 20th! Unleash your creative side with sidewalk chalk art. Live music and hourly raffles! This great family event is located at S. 3rd street between Main and Klamath Ave from 10 am to 3 pm!
Oregon Tech Celebrates Earth Week April 24-27 –A variety of outdoor activities will be hosted by Oregon Tech on campus during Earth Week, between April 24 and April 27. All of these activities are open to all ages and the entire community.
- Native Pollinator Walk, Wednesday, April 24 from 3 p.m.-4 p.m. at the Arboretum. Professor Christy VanRooyen will provide her insight and expertise about native pollinators as she leads a walk from the Arboretum to the Native Garden. Build a native bee habitat to take home!
- Campus Garden and Rock Painting, Thursday, April 25 from 3 p.m.-4 p.m. at the Arboretum. The Sustainability Club will lead a garden and rock painting event.
- Arbor Day Tree Planting, Friday, April 26 from 3 p.m.-4 p.m. at the Arboretum. The Sustainability Club will lead planting of trees in the arboretum.
- Native Garden Planting, Saturday, April 27 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the base of the hill by the Native Garden. Enjoy snacks, learn about pollinators, clear the trail to the top of the hill in the Native Garden, and help plant new plants. Learn about native plants and how they can offer your yard beautiful colors through the summer with much less water than a lawn requires!
- Arboretum Tour, Saturday, April 27 from 1 p.m.-3 p.m. at the Arboretum. Volunteers from the Klamath Tree League will guide tours of the arboretum and provide insight and expertise for landscaping your own yard. Enjoy snacks and a Klamath Symphony players live classical musical performance, our woodwind quintet. In addition, the Sustainability Club will demonstrate the organic garden and composting within the arboretum.
Details: The Arboretum is located along the eastern uphill side of Oregon Tech (East College Way) near the softball field. Parking is available along the roadside of East College Way. The Native Garden is located at the northwest corner of campus near Cornett Hall; the prominent hill at that end of campus is the Native Garden. A campus map can be found at: www.oit.edu/visitors-info/about/campus-map.
Rogue Valley Earth Day, established in 2001, is held at ScienceWorks Museum in Ashland from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 20. You will find more than 50 exhibitors covering topics from energy and water conservation to food and farms, climate, wildlife preservation, community building and more. The event always has plenty of activities for the whole family. The event strives to be a zero-waste event, so bring your own water bottle. Learn more at http://roguevalleyearthday.net
Douglas County Earth Day & Energy Fair 2019, established in 2000, is held at the Douglas County Fairgrounds from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 20. You can learn about organic gardening, green living, energy efficiency, local waterways, reusable/recycled products, native plants and trees, solar energy, electric bikes and more. Enjoy live music, prize drawings, a poetry contest, electric and alternative power car rally, local crafts and a fashion show using reclaimed materials. For more information visit: https://www.facebook.com/DouglasCountyEarthDayEnergyFair/
All events are FREE, family friendly and off-the-charts fun.