We’re all familiar with Earth Day, but not all of us know its history.
Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin was witness to the devastating effects of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, and was inspired to organize a “teach-in” to educate the public about the environment. The first official Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970.
According to “History of Earth Day” by the Earth Day Network, “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.”
Earth Day continues to be an event to celebrate and reflect and raise public awareness about pollution and how we can become part of the solution. This annual celebration, which has been ongoing for 47 years, has contributed the support needed to create the Environmental Protection Agency, passage of the Clean Air Act, the Water Quality Improvement Act, the Endangered Species Act and several other environmental laws. Many have opinions regarding these agencies and their possible overreach; however, it remains imperative that we have effective laws in place that will prevent unscrupulous people from poisoning the planet for their own gain.
In an article for the EPA Journal reflecting on the 10th anniversary of Earth Day, Senator Nelson wrote, “It was on that day that Americans made it clear that they understood and were deeply concerned over the deterioration of our environment and the mindless dissipation of our resources.”
Since 2009, KALB has been honoring Earth Day with a celebration for all to enjoy. We have worked hard to keep the event free of charge so everyone can come to see, learn, play, and enjoy.
Is this event just for kids? Absolutely NOT! While the children love the event, we have had many adults comment on how much they have learned and how much they look forward to future celebrations.
Come and learn about the importance of pollinators or why rain barrels are helpful and how you can build one. Get answers to gardening questions from local Master Gardeners, paint with an artist from Athens Arts League, get a free plant from the Athens-Limestone Beautification Board (while they last), and learn about Wheeler Wildlife Nature Preserve or hiking at Bankhead National Forest.
Check out Perfectly Posh naturally-based and cruelty-free bath and body products, Remembrances of Yours recycled jewelry and glassworks, Hinge Gifts & Home Accessories, or Sweet Home Soaps handcrafted soap and skincare items.
There will be plenty of live animals, including raptors from Wings to Soar, as well as crafts, games and hands-on activities.
Admission is free and there will be complimentary hot dogs and Pepsi, treats, and door prizes. Donations will be gladly accepted, of course!
KALB thanks our sponsors for supporting the Earth Day & Outdoor EXPO. Sponsors include Custom Polymers PET, Bank Independent, Clem Tire, Redstone Federal Credit Union, Crews Inc., Top Job Roofing, First National Bank, and the Mayor’s Youth Commission. These sponsors make this event possible.
We hope to see you there!
By: Lynne Hart