Next Wednesday, April 22, will be the 45th anniversary of the first Earth Day celebration which took place in the U.S. in 1970. According to EarthDay.org
The idea came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, he realized that if he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. Senator Nelson announced the idea for a “national teach-in on the environment” to the national media; persuaded Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman, to serve as his co-chair; and recruited Denis Hayes as national coordinator. Hayes built a national staff of 85 to promote events across the land.
As a result, on the 22nd of April, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.
Now, “over a billion people in 190 countries take action for Earth Day. From San Francisco to San Juan, Beijing to Brussels, Moscow to Marrakesh, people plant trees, clean up their communities, contact their elected officials, and more—all on behalf of the environment.” Here are some of the activities taking place in Miami.
Green Education Foundation Waste Reduction Challenge
Many of us don’t think about how much we throw away each day and where it ends up. We’ve become disconnected from the waste stream and the processes involved because it has become so easy – throw something away and never see it again! Green Education Foundation’s “Waste Reduction Challenge” is designed to help students be aware of the implications of creating waste and identify ways we can all work together to reduce waste and recycle more. Join the waste reduction challenge to learn how your trash impacts our planet. Plus, find out how you can make a difference by reducing the waste you create everyday and how you can start recycling.
Party for the Planet at ZooMiami
April 18 & 19 @ 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. – Zoo Miami’s Earth Day celebration – Party for the Planet – will be held Saturday and Sunday April 18 and 19, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The Tropical Flowering Tree Society will be hosting its annual plant show and sale. There will also be fun “green” activities and entertainment for the entire family as well as animal enrichment with recycled items and/or natural materials like newspapers, cardboard tubes, bamboo, old tires, fire hoses, and more. During Party for the Planet, guests can come in free of charge if they turn in a cellphone as part of our ECO-CELL phone recycling program. Not only will each person donating a cellphone enter the zoo for free on these two days, but they will also help save gorillas! Cell phones include coltan, a mineral extracted in the deep forests of Congo in central Africa, home to the world’s endangered lowland gorillas. Fueled by the worldwide cell phone boom, Congo’s out-of-control coltan mining business has in recent years led to a dramatic reduction of animal habitat and the rampant slaughter of great apes for the illegal bush-meat trade. By turning in your cell phone, we can hopefully reduce the need for additional coltan … and help protect the gorillas.
Slow Food Miami Earth Day Family Fun Fest at The Barnacle in Coconut Grove
April 19 @ 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. – The Earth Day Family Fun Fest at The Barnacle in Coconut Grove will include yoga by the sea, Whole Foods Market smoothies with real live superheroes, kid friendly healthy eating demonstration* with renown Chef Julie Frans, garden planting demonstration & ladybug release, pelican encounter by Pelican Harbor Seabird Station, bike decorating contest and a bike parade (byobike). Bike Coconut Grove will also provide a free bike valet to encourage locals to bike to the event and save energy. There will also be local vendors and live music by students from the Arts and Minds school and the Coconut Grove Drum Circle.
“Earth Day Eve Celebration: Get Your Green On” at Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
April 21 @ 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. – To help celebrate Earth Day 2015, Vizcaya Museum & Gardens will be hosting “Earth Day Eve Celebration: Get Your Green On” on Tuesday, April 21 from 6 to 9 p.m. ET. This free event will take place at Vizcaya Village, located next to the Science Museum parking lot. Encouraged to RSVP, attendees can enjoy music and refreshments while networking with members of the Million Trees Miami campaign, which aims to plant one million trees in Miami-Dade County by the year 2020.
Hug the Lake at the University of Miami
April 22 @ 12:05 p.m. to 12:20 p.m. – Random Acts of Kindness at UM invite you to join us for our annual Hug the Lake as we join hands around Lake Osceola in celebration of Earth Day. Sponsored by Green U, Housing and Residential Life, the Wellness Center, the Student Center Complex, Earth Alert and the Butler Center. Hug the Lake is a campus-wide event that will bring the University of Miami community together to celebrate Earth Day every year in April. On that day, more than 700 students, faculty, and staff will join hands singing the alma mater, encircling Lake Osceola in the center of our Coral Gables campus in a symbolic “hug,” to show their appreciation for and increase awareness about the environment.
April 25 @ 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. – The Biscayne Bay Cleanup Day is the highlight of Baynanza. Join thousands of volunteers like you and help us remove tons of trash from the shorelines and nearby islands of Biscayne Bay. And just for fun, take part in your own scavenger hunt at any of our Cleanup Sites. Who knows, you might find the most unique trash item or a hidden treasure! Join thousands of volunteers and help clean of one of our most precious natural resources: Biscayne Bay. Baynanza takes place from 9 a.m. to noon, with boat captain volunteers gathering by 8 a.m. Online registration for the Cleanup Day is now closed. You can still participate as a walk-up volunteer at any of the cleanup sites. However, a T-shirt is not guaranteed. For more information, call 305-372-6784.
Pledge an Act of Green
With over one billion actions to date, Earth Day Network’s A Billion Acts of Green® – the largest environmental service campaign in the world – is steadily building commitments by individuals, organizations, businesses and governments to protect the planet. A Billion Acts of Green® inspires and rewards both simple individual acts and larger organizational initiatives that reduce carbon emissions and support sustainability. Choose your Act of Green here.