Monday, the 22nd day in April, will be the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day. The question is, how many really involve themselves in the day? Not many? Most will likely treat it as simply another Monday.
I know about the day and what it’s intended to do, but never immersed myself in its meaning. But, as you get older, I guess you appreciate the purpose of the day more. It is a day when the people of the world are asked to become more aware of the earth, be it the air, earth or water.
It’s a day to look at and learn about the earth, which is truly a fascinating subject, full of mystery, intrigue and questions, many still unanswered.
Consider topics like global warming, waste management, deforestation, endangered species, biodiversity, consumption of raw materials and water, to name a few. (Water will definitely come to the surface this summer in Utah if more rain and/or snow doesn’t fall.)
There was a controversy this year over the Utah's Department of Natural Resources sponsoring a poster contest among school children. The curious theme to the Earth Day contest was “Where would we be without oil, gas and mining?”
In nothing else, Utah proved, once again, to be a rich trove of comedic material for the likes of Stephen Colbert.
It was Gaylord Nelson, a former U.S. Senator, credited with introducing Earth Day in 1970. The story goes that after a massive oil spill in California, he felt there should be a day to draw attention to air and water pollution. It is said that 20 million people took part that first year. It also led to the establishment of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species acts.
Once introduced, the idea caught on worldwide. Now, nearly 200 countries recognize Earth Day. It is celebrated, estimates are, by a billion people. It is the largest secular holiday in the world.
Here in Utah there are a number of events to celebrate Earth Day.
On April 20, Tracy Aviary will hold a “Party for the Plant’’ event between noon and 3 p.m. There will be hands-on activities, giveaways and interaction with birds. Entrance fee will be required.
On the list of topics are how to combat habitat loss, stay rooted against deforestation, stop climate change, clean up water pollution and the recommendation to watch what to eat by looking deeper into what pesticides, chemicals and synthetic fertilizers are being used.
Also on April 20, there will be the Zion Canyon celebration in Springdale between noon and 5 p.m. The day will include solar-powered music, and demonstrations on plants, alternative energy and sustainable products.
And, on April 20, Ogden Nature Center will offer a full schedule of activities between noon and 4 p.m. Visitors will be able to make their own head wreath, ride in a cart pulled by llamas, build a birdhouse, take narrative hikes, learn nature crafts and view live animals presentations. There will also be food and commercial vendors onsite. Admission is $2 per person.
Llama cart rides for Earth Day at Ogden Nature Center.
On April 21, Antelope Island State Park will hold Earth Day activities starting at 9 a.m. at the visitor center. The focus will be on birds and natural crafts. Park entrance fees will apply.
There will be other activities on or around April 22. Search them out if there’s an interest. Consider it a good day to learn about something very important to all—Mother Earth.
Earth Day Facts
Founder: Gaylord Nelson, U.S. Senator from Wisconsin
Why: Devastation caused by California oil spill
Intent: Change behavior and provoke changes
Celebration: April 22 each year
Recognized: Adopted by United Nations in 2009
Involved: Nearly 200 countries worldwide
Participation: More than one billion people worldwide