If the warm sunshine, birdsong and buzzing sounds of pollinators have you excited about Spring, we’ve got something else for you to do in order to celebrate the changing season: celebrate Earth Day! You are welcome to join our on-campus celebration on Wednesday, April 20, and we’ve also included a handful of ways for you to extend your celebration of our beautiful world all month–and year– long.
Did you know that Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970? The publication of Rachel Carson’s New York Times bestseller Silent Spring in 1962 awoke a new environmental consciousness for a generation. Yet, it wasn’t until 1969 when Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson announced his idea for what would become the first Earth Day. By that time Nelson—and the world—had witnessed the aftermath of a massive oil spill on the coast of Santa Barbara, California. That event, alongside the energy of anti-war protests, led Nelson and other leaders to ask: what if someone infused discussions on conservation, air and water pollution with the kind of energy often seen at anti-war protests? The senator proposed a series of campus “teach-ins” on various college campuses and the date, April 22, was chosen because it was a weekday that fell between Spring Break and Final Exams, which planners hoped would maximize the number of college students who would participate.
Yet, the event would end up inspiring more than just college students. The first Earth Day was observed by 20 million Americans—10% of the population of the U.S. at the time—who made their voices heard through protests and demonstrations. By the end of 1970, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and several other important environmental laws including the National Environmental Education Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and the Clean Air Act, were the tangible results of that inaugural Earth Day event.
According to the official Earth Day website, Earth Day is recognized as the largest secular observance in the world, celebrated by more than a billion people who come together to create and foster global, national and local policy changes. In addition to that, it is a day that reminds us of the power we have as individuals to make choices–however seemingly small—that can have a large impact on the world around us. No matter how you choose to celebrate Earth Day, we invite you to join us for a day of celebration, advocacy and positive change.
TMCC Earth Day Celebration
On Wednesday, April 20 from 9:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. in the V. James Eardley Student Center, join members of our campus community in several activities that can kick-start your Earth Day and lifelong habits of living more sustainability. Here are three things you can start doing at the TMCC Earth Day celebration:
- Get your clothing repaired. Start the celebration by visiting a table sponsored by Patagonia where you can bring damaged clothing to get repaired. Did you know that the fashion industry is responsible for over 8% of the total greenhouse gas emissions? And, unless you incorporate sustainable practices into your wardrobe, it’s likely only to get worse. According to the Columbia Climate School’s Series The State of the Planet, the evolving industry encourages bad consumer behavior: the average consumer today buys 60% more than they did in 2000 and keep it half as long. Global fashion consumes 93 billion metric tons of clean water each year, which is about half of what Americans drink on an annual basis. As a result of this and other unsustainable practices, 53 million metric tons of discarded clothing are incinerated or go to landfills. Synthetic fabrics—which comprise most of our low-cost clothing today—can take up to 200 years to break down, and as they do, they produce methane, a gas which contributes to global warming and climate change.
- Join the ladybug release ceremony. In 2022, ladybugs are the new doves: considered by many to be harbingers of good luck, these red and black polka dotted beetles are beloved by sustainable agriculture because of their snacking habits. At the top of the ladybug menu are aphids and other plant-eating pests; instead of relying on pesticides to get rid of the pests, ladybugs offer a guilt-free natural solution. Did you know one ladybug can eat up to 5,000 insects in its lifetime? That’s a lot—and unlike Deet and other chemically-based “solutions” there are no adverse environmental impacts of introducing ladybugs into your garden or natural habitat. Other fun facts about ladybugs include: their larvae are said to resemble small black alligators. The name “ladybug” comes from European farmers who prayed to the Virgin Mary when pests would eat their crops; that’s how the red and black beetle became known as “the beetle of our lady” which was obviously a mouthful and shortened to “ladybug.” Last but certainly not least, ladybugs are among the few insects we have sent to space. In 1999, NASA sent a few of these colorful gals to space in order to see if they could still predate aphids in the absence of gravity. And guess what? Even in zero-gravity, ladybugs are a viable solution an aphid infection.
- Travel (more) cleanly and learn about resources and supports. You can be entered to win amazing raffle prizes like a 3-credit class from TMCC (you will need to have a 2.0 GPA and be enrolled in 6 credits for the fall semester in order to qualify for this prize), Patagonia backpack and caps, and much more by building up your repertoire of mindful and sustainable practices. These include finding alternatives to driving solo to work or school: this could mean walking, riding a bike, carpooling or taking public transportation. Opting for these alternative forms of transportation will not only reduce the amount of carbon emissions you’re contributing to our air, but also on fuel consumption (and with gas at $5 a gallon, it will probably also save you some money, too!) Finally, you can round out your Earth Day celebration by taking a tour of Wizard’s Warehouse, TMCC’s food pantry. With three locations (the Dandini Campus, the Meadowood Center and the Pennington Applied Technology Center), Wizard’s Warehouse is there for you when you are in need of food or hygiene items. Additionally, each location also provides information on additional community support services.
If celebrating Earth Day outside is more your style, you can tour TMCC’s pollinator garden, visit its wind turbines, solar-charging stations or chat with other visitors to campus who can tell you more about how you can support bees and other pollinators in your home gardens.
TMCC: Committed to Sustainable Practices
Did you know TMCC is powered by 100% renewable energy? We’re also an official affiliate of Bee Campus USA, a Green Ribbon School and since 2017 have signed a resilience commitment with Second Nature. Faculty and staff comprise our Sustainability Champions who implement small and large practices to foster healthy environments at TMCC.
No matter how you celebrate your Earth Day, remember that your actions and your decisions can have lasting impact on our community and our environment. Be the environmental advocate you are, and join us in celebrating Earth Day!