It's (almost) Earth Day!

By Deb Berlin

Around the country, for the next two weeks, there are festivals, celebrations, environmental cleanups, lectures, meditations, pilgrimages, tree plantings, cell phone recycling events, and an unbelievable array of ways to honor and appreciate the earth that sustains us. We’ve collected a few here and encourage you to celebrate the earth and the environment in your own way.

Here at EPA, every day is literally Earth Day, and at this time of year we have the opportunity to showcase some of the helpful, world-class and unexpected things that we do to protect you at home, at school, at work, and in your community. EPA Earth Day on the National Mall takes place this weekend, April 16-17. It features dozens of exhibits, activities, and short films in a large tent, rain or shine (hint: wear boots). Here’s a preview of my favorites: the mock environmental crime scene with our investigators collecting forensic evidence — the lung capacity challenge that plots a graph (I’m at the bottom, yikes…) — the roving “Slim Bin” recycling character — and the eyebrow raising database that shows how close your house is to a Superfund site!

The kids that have visited EPA and our events have demonstrated a sensitivity, intuition and knowledge about air, water and land that continues to astound me. One of the most interesting conversations I’ve had about the perils of climate change was with my ten-year-old nephew. So this year on the National Mall we’ve added cultural activities to further engage kids:

  • Saturday is “Earth Tales” story time with the Library of Congress, featuring storytellers EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, Marcus McNeill of the San Diego Chargers, Madieu Williams of the Minnesota Vikings, and Olympic Track Star Michael Walton.
  • On Sunday, “Bash the Trash” helps kids construct and play musical instruments from water bottles & Earth’s Natural Force kid rappers perform. All weekend long kids and adults can draw and mail “Eco Art” postcards thanks to Post Office and their on-site mailman.

Whatever you do, wherever you are, take a moment to appreciate the life-sustaining environment that is normally in the background of your daily existence, making it possible. Earth Day is for everyone, Earth Day is for you.

About the author: Deb Berlin works in the Office of External Affairs and Environmental Education on strategic communications, and runs Earth Day for EPA.