From Joni Mitchell’s lamenting about paving paradise and putting up parking lots to the classic Woody Guthrie folk song “This Land is Your Land,” over the years many a musical performer has crooned songs about the environment.
With powerful lyrics from our past blasting on the stereo, and concerns about our current ability to maintain a clean ecosystem shrouding our vision of the future, it’s good to know that Earth Day is still a thing — and an important thing as well. It’s a reminder that we, the people, have an obligation to think about and save the world around us, even when corporations or governments don’t appear to share the same ideas.
Way back, 47 years ago, on April 22, 1970, the first-ever Earth Day was celebrated. Founded by Wisconsin Sen. Gaylord Nelson — considered by many a leading figure in the fight against environmental degradation and social injustice in the 20th century — Earth Day is acknowledged around the world, especially in schools, where students are taught about environmental conservation and what everyone can do to support it.
According to a web site dedicated to Nelson, the senator contributed to important reforms, but struggled for years to interest his colleagues in environmental protections. So he turned, instead, to the people, proposing April 22, 1970 as a day for Americans to speak out about the environmental crises they faced. Earth Day’s massive public support forced politicians to see the severity of the problems and the extent of public concern. The first Earth Day galvanized the U.S. Congress into creating some of the nation’s most important environmental legislation, and Nelson earned environmentalism a lasting place in national politics.
According to the Earth Day Network, Earth Day 2017’s campaign is “Environmental & Climate Literacy.” Noting that education is the foundation for progress, society has a need to build a global citizenry both fluent in the concepts of climate change and aware of its threat to our planet. Our leaders need to empower everyone with the knowledge to inspire action in defense of environmental protection.
Wellington will host an Earth Day-inspired cleanup this weekend before hosting its annual Earth Day & Arbor Day Celebration on Saturday, April 22 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Wellington Amphitheater (12100 W. Forest Hill Blvd.). This free event allows area residents to learn about recycling, composting and respecting the Earth. The celebration features activities for children, local vendors showcasing earth-friendly products, free samples, giveaways and more. This year, the Wellington Village Council will plant a Green Buttonwood tree in honor of Arbor Day. For more information, visit www.wellingtonfl.gov.
That same day, the South Florida Science Center & Aquarium (4801 Dreher Trail North, West Palm Beach) will offer environmental science demonstrations and special aquarium presentations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Individuals can explore atmospheric and oceanic currents in “Science on a Sphere,” a 6-foot projection globe that appears to hang in thin air. They can also play a round of mini golf at a new 18-hole miniature golf course with a Florida conservation theme, settled in a giant butterfly garden. Participants can also experience the blockbuster exhibition “Our Body: The Universe Within” before it leaves the building the next day. For more information, call (561) 832-1988 or visit www.sfsciencecenter.org.