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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Restore, Replenish.......Befor It's Too Late

Added: Friday, April 27th 2012 at 2:55pm by DannyVan


Earth Day; A day that has been a part of my life since grade school. It was on Earth Day where normal class would be postponed and we would take our active minds onto the playground and surrounding fields to plant trees and flowers, pick up trash, and give our school landscaping a facelift, all in the name of Mother Earth. But apart from being taught how to dig a hole and the importance of keeping our school clean, what was Earth Day teaching us? How did Earth Day come to be, and what is the meaning behind it?

I have always though Earth Day was just some “government holiday” created to teach America’s youth how to preserve their planet. And it turns out, I wasn’t too far off. The idea came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the destruction of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Nelson was inspired by the student anti-war movement and decided that if he could infuse that energy with a public consciousness about water and air pollution, he could force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. After announcing his idea to the media, recruiting Congressman Pete McCloskey to serve as his co-chair and Denis Hayes as the national coordinator, and building a national staff of 85 to help promote events, April 22, 1970 became the first Earth Day. More than 20 million Americans took to the parks, streets, and auditoriums to promote and demonstrate a healthy and sustainable environment.Earth Day has now become a worldwide phenomenon celebrated in more than 175 countries.


Chico, California, which has its fair share of liberal tree hugging save the environment types of  people, held several Earth Day celebrations. The first took place on the Chico State campus during lunch hours on Wednesday the 18th . Walking straight home from class was no longer an option as I was bombarded by activists, the seduction of free food and drinks, and the sound of the music pouring off the stage. I made my way from booth to booth discovering what each had to offer, from the importance of recycling, to buying locally grown and sustainable food. After filling up on the free food and collecting my fair share of goodies, I headed home with my new reusable tote bag filled.

The second event took place, on Thursday the 19th , during downtown Chico’s “Thursday Night Market.”   The Thursday night market is a weekly event that takes place in downtown Chico from the month of May to September. This week was special though, while it typically promotes locally grown food and sustainability, the Earth Day version was taken up to the next notch. Focusing its efforts on promoting recycle, reduce, and reuse, the Thursday Night Market, in addition to the regular vendor booths, featured demonstrations from Bill “Mr. Habitat” Oliver, live entertainment, and activities. The market also provided free compost from Recology if you were interested in planting a garden, and played a game throughout the night called “Caught Green.” In order to be “Caught Green,” volunteers were looking for people demonstrating sustainable practices and promoting efforts to “go green.” This included everything from using a reusable waterbottle, to showing up to the market on your bicycle. Those who were “Caught Green” won a Klean Kanteen and a Chico Bag, and were also entered into a drawing for a beach cruiser bicycle.


The third event was a community clean up that was focused on Bidwell Park as well as the Chico bike path.   This event was held on Saturday the 21st , and consisted of volunteers, both residents and businesses, who’s focuses were on cleaning up our community.

Pictured Above: Bidwell Park

The fourth and final event, which took place on Earth Day, was an “Earth Day Concert.” Located in the downtown Chico city plaza, the concert took place from 2:00-7:00pm, and in addition to live performances, featured a pedal powered smoothie maker, African Caribbean dancers, and activities and games to keep the young ones occupied. Just a few blocks from my house, you could hear the music and energy of the crowd even after I left the event.

Pictured Above: Chico City Plaza

In a world full of pollution, toxic materials, and people with a wasteful mentality, we need every excuse we can get to put a little effort into preserving our planet. What happened to our young spirits who’s main concern was who we were going to play with after school and where we were going to play. It’s time to get back outside and cut down on the amount of greenhouse gases we produce. If we all do our little part, we can improve our environment and communities for generations to come.


Video Above: Short Clip on Earth Day

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