University of Mary Washington on Earth Day

The first Earth Day of 1970 was filled with anti-war sentiment and planet conscious
festivities. Every year on April 22nd, people across the globe come together to celebrate and
appreciate the earth for its many wonders.

The picture to the left is University of Mary Washington on Earth Day, April 22nd 2013.

This year, I wanted to celebrate earth day by reducing my use of plastics and avoid
buying products with excessive packaging. Clearly, doing this for only one day is not effective
so I set my challenge in place on Earth Day and have stuck with my challenge thus far. The
first day, I had to focus and pay attention to everything I bought or used throughout my day (it
is a challenge, right?). However, even after one week, I find myself bringing my reusable bags
everywhere and asking for ceramics instead of plastic cups at coffee shops. I am happy to report
that I am approaching full-awareness of all the plastic that I would be using every day.

 

 

Besides being more conscious of all of the plastic and packaging wastes that can accrue
even after one day, this Earth Day, I focused on how others celebrated Earth Day in my current
city of Fredericksburg, VA. After talking with some friends, I found some common trends.
Walking instead of driving, eating lunch outside, shopping with reusable bags, and avoiding
shopping were among the top answers. After this, I wanted to see how my community as a
whole celebrated Earth Day by taking a walk around the town to see if I noticed anything in
celebration of Earth Day. I found some banners and signs that said, “Butts are Litter Too: Keep
Fredericksburg Litter Free”. This sign was a great reminder that even small things like cigarette
butts have no place in the environment and should be disposed of properly.

Butts are litter too

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I wanted to learn more about how residents of my community were celebrating Earth
Day, I visited my regional libraries (Rappahannock Regional Library and English Run Library),
where I was lucky enough to talk with the Adult Services Coordinator, Michele Brown, and two
authors of the recently published book Traveling the 38th Parallel: A Water Line Around the
World, David and Janet Carle, about the importance of Earth Day:

“Is the recognition of Earth Day important to you?”

Michele- “Yes, I actually remember the very first Earth Day I had in high school,
specifically. I was allowed to walk to school instead of riding the bus. This was the only day out
of the year we were allowed to do this!”

David- “Yes, I think it is very important and powerful that people are taking the time
to mark environmental issues, this is special. It is especially helpful when places and people
celebrate Earth Day the entire week.”

“Is the recognition of Earth Day important for the city of Fredericksburg
specifically? If so, in what way?”

Michele- “ Yes for Fredericksburg, it is important. We have many beautiful natural
resources that we must preserve.”

Janet- “It is universally important. For Fredericksburg, the Rappahannock River is so
closely tied that it is vital. We even wrote about the Rappahannock River and river preservation
efforts in our book.”

“What is one thing that you have done in honor of Earth Day in order to be more
environmentally aware?”

David- “Writing our book! Also, we both had park ranger careers which allowed us to
work with educating children on Earth day.”

“Is there a specific issue you would like to promote in honor of Earth Day?”

Michele- “Yes! Out global garbage situation is not pleasing. We have so much waste and
packaging wastes that we just don’t know what to do with. This problem is a national issue.”

David- “Yes, awareness of water and sustainability should be addressed. We all need a
better understanding of resources values.”

Janet- “ Yes, I think we all need to focus more on long term rather than short term
sustainability. Global sustainability is key.”

From my findings, I think the messages are very clear and honest. We are a global
community as inhabitants of the earth. Although April 22nd is the designated day to celebrate the
earth, we should try to understand Earth Day as every day. Now, this is where we turn to you,
what will you do to make Earth Day every day? Thinking about your everyday impacts is the
first step. The earth will surely thank you.

-Josie