Earth Day 2023: Investing in our Planet
Martin County is a community known for environment conservation, advocating for clean water and preserving our quality of life. But protecting our community – and our planet – is no simple task. Keep Martin Beautiful is all about providing practical suggestions that can make a difference locally. And when combined with individuals taking action all over the planet, the results can be truly impactful!
In this column, I’ll dive into the history of Earth Day and then provide some helpful tips and upcoming events where you can get involved.
Earth Day is an annual event celebrated on April 22nd to raise awareness and support for environmental protection and conservation. The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970 and was organized by Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin. Nelson was motivated to create Earth Day after witnessing the devastating effects of the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. He was also inspired by Rachel Carson, whose book "Silent Spring," published in 1962, is widely regarded as a catalyst for the modern environmental movement.
On the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970, an estimated 20 million Americans took to the streets to protest environmental degradation and demand government action. This massive mobilization helped push environmental issues to the forefront of national consciousness and led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of landmark environmental legislation, including the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act.
Since then, Earth Day has become an international event, celebrated in more than 190 countries around the world. This year, Earthday.org, the global organizer of Earth Day, chose Invest in our Planet as the theme. The investment doesn’t need to be monetary. In fact, even more power and impact can come from the investment of your time, your thoughtfulness, and your influence as a consumer, a voter, and a community member.
Here are five ideas for making a good investment in the planet:
- Plant a tree. Even better, plant an edible tree!
- Become a citizen scientist. Volunteer with the Florida Oceanographic Society, ORCA or download the Global Earth Challenge app and measure air quality and plastics pollution in your community: https://www.earthday.org/campaign/global-earth-challenge/
- Reduce your plastic consumption and waste. Plastic pollution is one of the most menacing environmental problems today. Each year, the average American generates about 88 pounds of plastic waste which can end up in our rivers and oceans and break down into microplastics that harm wildlife and human health.
- Choose “sustainable” fashion over “fast” fashion. The fashion industry produces 150 billion garments each year and 87% wind up in landfills. Sustainable fashion is a movement that aims to minimize the negative impact of the fashion industry on the environment and promote ethical and sustainable practices throughout the supply chain. Sustainable fashion encourages recycling and upcycling of materials and the use of organic and biodegradable materials as well as production processes that minimize water consumption and promote ethical and fair practices.
- Join a local cleanup event through Keep Martin Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup. See more details below.
The Great American Cleanup (March to June) is the nation’s largest community improvement event, and many local groups have already conducted spring cleaning activities:
- Rio Civic Club did their bi-annual Rio Nature Park Cleanup by trimming vegetation and removing litter from the area.
- Treasure Coast Classical Academy’s Parent-Teacher Coalition swept through Stuart Beach in their most recent volunteer gathering.
- Publix Super Markets Charities joined forces with us with for a Stuart Beach cleanup.
- City of Stuart and Students4H20 hosted their 9th Annual WaterFest event at Memorial Park on Saturday where Keep Martin Beautiful was an exhibitor along with 40 others!
Check out these upcoming events that all still need volunteers:
- House of Hope – Gleaning on most Saturday mornings through April and May from 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. at the Growing Hope Farm, Palm City
- The Nature Conservancy – Blowing Rocks Preserve Shoreline Cleanup on Sun., April 2 from 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. at Blowing Rocks Preserve, Hobe Sound
- The Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast – Earth Fest on Sat., April 15 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at The Children’s Museum, Jensen Beach
- Stuart Main Street – Sweeping the Streets on Sat., April 22 from 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., downtown Stuart
- The Hobe Sound Chamber of Commerce & Jenkins Landscape – Live. Love. Local. Cleanup on Sat., April 29 from 8 a.m. - 10 a.m. at Harry & The Natives, Hobe Sound
- Martin County Public Works – Planting Day, Sat., May 13 from 8 a.m. – noon, Mary Brogan Park in Stuart
- itown My Town Community Revitalization Cleanup on Sat., May 13 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. in Booker Park in Indiantown
Working together, we can make even more of an investment in Martin County and our planet. To view a list of events and details go to keepmartinbeautiful.org/great-american-cleanup.
For more information contact Keep Martin Beautiful at 772-781-1222, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit keepmartinbeautiful.org.