The year is 1970. Can you list some of the cultural landmarks of the time? You might mention music—Jimi Hendrix died, and the Beatles recorded their last album. Maybe you think of war. The Vietnam war was on going, to much social protest. Perhaps the images of hippies, flower children, and bell-bottoms come to mind. How ’bout Earth Day?
April 22, 1970, was the first Earth Day. It marked a new level in America’s consciousness of ecology. Fast forward, and it’s April 22, 2012, and we’re still celebrating Earth Day. It’s become an international event, and Earth Day 2012 is urging people all over the world through their Mobilize the Earth campaign to attend one of their local events. They are trying to collect one billion acts of green.
Here in Austin, there are ample opportunities throughout April to show your love for Mother Earth. You can get an early start participating in Clean Sweep, the annual citywide cleanup that takes place all over Austin. Part of the Keep Austin Beautiful program, participants will work all over town at a variety of locations to remove trash from public spaces. The first 4,000 volunteers to register get a free event t-shirt. There’s also an awesome volunteer party and environmental fair at Fiesta Gardens immediately following, which includes a free lunch, live music, kid’s environmental activities, recycled art, door prizes, and more. The cleanup is on April 14, 2012, from 9-11 a.m., and the volunteer party is from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at Edward Rendon, Sr., Park at Fiesta Gardens.
• 5,285 pre-registered volunteers
• 136 cleanup locations all around Austin
• 25+ tons of trash removed from public spaces
• 31 zip codes reached
• 45,149 cigarette butts collected
• Hundreds of unique objects found including the following: part of a tricycle, a large black and yellow sign, a skunk figurine, a love letter, a bright green whoopee cushion, a kazoo, a disco ball, a credit card, a doll leg, a working cell phone, a pair of shoes and a honeycomb
How to register: Visit www.KeepAustinBeautiful.org/CleanSweep
If you’re still looking for ways to help, see what’s going on at our local events that are part of the Green Apple Festival on April 17-19; this is a national Earth Day celebration, and you can check out the many activities here in Central Texas by going to the Festival website, www.greenapplefestival.com.
On a practical note, H.E.B. will mark Earth Day by handing out free, reusable tote bags to each customer who comes into an Austin store (no purchase necessary; just bring five plastic bags to exchange) between 3-5 p.m. on April 22.
And finally, check out your ecological footprint by going to Mobilize the Earth/Earth Day Network on Facebook and selecting the footprint calculator. Take the quiz and see what acts of green you might be able to pledge toward bettering our planet’s future.