Photo: Clinton County CleanScapes
We hope you honor the spirit of Earth Day throughout the year, but April 22 can be an especially meaningful day to take care of the places we love in the Pennsylvania Wilds.
On April 22, 1970, the United States of America celebrated its first Earth Day, the birth of the modern environmental movement. One year later, the Pennsylvania Legislature solidified the movement and ratified the Environmental Rights Amendment, guaranteeing clean air, pure water, and the preservation of natural and scenic values for its citizens.
In that legislative language, it’s important to note that it uses the statement “for generations to come.” Now 52 years after the ratification, multiple generations have benefited from the inheritance of a healthier environment… although we still have a long way to go.
Despite the fact that pollutants and climate change are still an issue, our policies have certainly changed since that first Earth Day. The movement was the sign of a new dawn for statewide and national commitments to the environment. Since then, pollution standards mean that there have been major improvements in water and air quality. Mines and toxic waste sites are being remediated. There are stiffer fines for polluters. The environment is less likely to be indiscriminately exploited.
Photo: Allegheny Outfitters and volunteers clean up the Allegheny River.
While these changes might have taken place because of reformed laws, the spirit of Earth Day and April 22 is not truly about compulsory laws. Earth Day celebrates our natural world in a way that inspires us – as opposed to forcing us – to respect and honor it. The day is about encouraging people to use their conscience when making choices that affect the environment. Earth Day also galvanizes us to work together and raise our collective voices to make change.
You can reaffirm your commitment to the planet and the places that bring us so much beauty, inspiration and sustenance. This Earth Day, participate in an activity that nurtures nature. Take small steps to respect and heal our environment: our air, water, soil and wildlife.
Just like the ratification of the past, together we can uphold the spirit of Earth Day and guarantee a healthier planet for generations to come.
Happy Earth Day!
Here are some of the registered events taking place in the region that you can enjoy (some of them are today!):
April 20: Susquehanna Greenway Cleanup in Jersey Shore (Lycoming County)
April 22: Ridgway Borough/Spring Creek Township Spring Cleanup (Elk County)
April 22: Chapman State Park (Warren County) Earth Day Hike
April 22: Cherry Springs State Park (Potter County) Every Day Needs a Night – Earth Day Program
April 22: Susquehanna Greenway Cleanup in Williamsport (Lycoming County)
April 22: Downtown DuBois Revitalization Group (Clearfield County) Spring Clean Up
April 22: Black Moshannon State Park (Centre County) Earth Day Beautification
April 30: Mount Riansares Vista Cleanup with CleanScapes and Bald Eagle State Forest (Clinton County)
Find more cleanup events on the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful calendar.
Do you know of an upcoming event celebrating the Earth and encouraging environmental stewardship? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.