Community embraces Earth Day
Published: Friday, April 20, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
As Earth Day quickly approaches, members of the Earth Day Dallas team are working diligently to guarantee this year’s celebration runs smoothly.
At the 2012 Earth Day Dallas festival at Fair Park on April 21 and 22, attendees can expect to dance to live music, attend workshops about environmentally friendly living, practice yoga, watch award-winning films, and listen to special guests, including former first lady Laura Bush.
The Earth Day Dallas team is anticipating more than 78,000 visitors, including guests from approximately 30 schools and universities, and more than 500 exhibitors over the course of the two-day festival.
Whitney Marion, Program Manager of Taking Care of Texas, believes Mrs. Bush will bring enthusiasm to the event. Mrs. Bush founded Taking Care of Texas in 2011, with goals to conserve the state’s resources, water supplies and wildlife.
Taking Care of Texas is helping with Earth Day Dallas’ festival by “joining them and other organizations to celebrate our state’s great landscape,” Marion said.
“Mrs. Bush is just an amazing woman, not only very philanthropic, but also a great woman,” said Tice. “She’s going to add a different perspective,” said Rachel Tice, a project manager for Earth Day Dallas, believes the Bush will add a lot to this year’s celebration.
There will be bins around the fairgrounds for recycling and composting. And the Earth Day Dallas crew will be using electrical golf carts to maneuver through the park. The team is trying to their best to work around not using any generators, but if they have to, they will be bio-diesel fuel, Tice said. Last year, Earth Day Dallas was named the second largest celebration in the country, with 48,000 participants including 18 schools and universities.
Earth Day Dallas started in September of 2010 when Trammel S. Crow took it upon himself to make the celebration in Dallas a big one. The 2011 Earth Day Dallas festival was held in the Dallas Arts District. Fair Park was chosen as the location this year in order to host a much bigger crowd, more exhibitors and more activities.
Dallas’ celebration stands out from other cities’ efforts because of Crow’s vision, Tice said. Crow wanted the festival to be an educational experience that will change the way North Texans act towards the environment.
In an interview with the Earth Day Dallas team, Crow said, “My hope is that people realize how much of a difference every single person can make, no matter their age, profession or current environmental awareness level.”
Andrew Quicksall, the Director of the Southern Methodist University’s Sustainability Masters program, makes a daily effort to live in environmentally friendly ways. He and his family have their own organic garden, own just one car, and he has chosen a profession that teaches others the impact they can have on the environment.
The mastermind behind the original Earth Day celebration was a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson. The idea came to him after a devastating oil spill in 1969 in Santa Barbara, Calif.
The first Earth Day celebration was on April 22, 1970 at Fairmount Park in Philadelphia. Since then it has been celebrated every year on April 22, with festivals and projects that encourage and teach people to live in environmentally friendly ways.
Ira Einhorn, an environmental activist, was the host of the first ever celebration. Many people admired Einhorn for bringing awareness to the environmental issues of that time. But he also had a dark side. Seven years after the first Earth Day, police found the decomposed body of his ex-girlfriend inside a trunk in his closet.
Earth Day’s organizers have understandably distanced themselves from Einhorn’s name.
After the first national Earth Day, the United States Environmental Protection Agency was created, which led to the passage in 1970 of the Endangered Species and Clean Air, Clean Water Acts. According to Quicksall, the first Earth Day had a lot to do with the passing of that legislation.
“I think that [Earth Day] was hugely popular in 1970, and it kind of had a down swing, but every time we come up on an anniversary it peaks again,” Quicksall said.
And peak again it did. In 1990, Earth Day went worldwide when the celebration included more than 141 countries, elevating environmental awareness to a global stage.
Earth Day’s efforts have focused attention around recycling and global warming in recent years. According to Tice, recycling one water bottle saves six hours of energy from a light bulb. It’s the little things, like recycling, that can make a huge difference to our environment.
Global warming is another major problem the planet is facing today, experts say. The planet is suffering an increase in average temperatures due to the effect of greenhouse gases that trap heat to the earth.
“It’s dominantly clear that [global warming] is a major issue facing our planet right now,” Quicksall said.