Dallas celebrates Earth Day

Fair Park was the center for the Earth Day celebration in Dallas this year. (Courtesy of city-data.com)

Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Earth Day Texas will share 800 environment-centered exhibits with an expected guest list of 60,000 attendees at Fair Park. Formerly known as Earth Day Dallas, the event changed its name this year due to the national nature of the groups that will participate: over 50 groups this year come from Washington, D.C. alone.

Lanny Shivers, the Eco Expo Manager of Earth Day Texas, has worked year round with 17 other staff members to organize the event and recruit hundreds of national organizations to participate.

“We believe it takes business to drive environmental economic change,” Shivers said. “At the event, they’ll all talk about what they’re doing within their own organization or business to try to make the world a better place.”

With more Fortune 500 companies headquartered in North Texas than anywhere else, Earth Day Texas is a prime occasion for environmental economic change on a large business scale to make way.

Although Texas is the biggest fossil fuel state, it is also the biggest wind and solar state in the Union. With its size and economic prowess, Shivers believes Texas has the potential to trigger a movement that could result in a dramatically more environmentally-conscious and concerned world.

“We want Texas to be the frontrunner in environmental progression,” Shivers said.

Somewhat of a recent convert himself, Shivers moved away from his life at Citibank in 2008 to see what he could do to contribute to a positive environmental impact.

“I did not believe I was making a difference in the world like I should,” Shivers said.

Having been employed by a top global enterprise, Shivers gained a first-hand understanding of the influence large companies have in many domains, and the necessity of business involvement on an economic scale for truly impactful environmental change.

This year alone, Shivers went to Washington, D.C. six times, attending 30 meetings each time he went with the Department of the Interior, the Department of Defense and the Republican National Committee, to name a few.

Shivers has also traveled to visit Earth Day events in San Francisco and Houston, and observed that their events are much more grassroots than what will be shown at Earth Day Texas.

“Their focus is largely local with lots of non-profits, which is great; that’s what most Earth Days have turned into, but we’re not about that,” Shivers said. “There are no direct sales at our show, it’s all about education.”

Through the diligence of Shivers and the Earth Day Texas team, a number of well-established and recognized institutions — including NASA — will be present at this year’s event to introduce their ideas, knowledge and recent environmental developments.

BMW will bring its new entirely electric vehicle, the i3, to Earth Day Texas; there are only five in the U.S., all of which will be at Fair Park the last weekend of April.

Although businesses will comprise approximately 50 percent of the 800 exhibits, other participants include organizations that are non-profits, governmental, and
in academia.

Earth Day Texas is a free event to the public, funded by sponsors and support from the community.

“Earth Day Texas is really just a chance for all these organizations to come together for two days,” Shivers said. “It’s a great day for education and sharing ideas.”

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