When CBS network anchor Walter Cronkite delivered the news April 22, 1970, he devoted part of the broadcast to the very first Earth Day.
“A unique day in American history is ending. A day set aside for a nationwide outpouring of mankind seeking its own survival. Earth Day, a day dedicated to enlisting all the citizens of a bountiful country in a common cause of saving life from the deadly byproducts of that bounty.”
Fifty-one years later, Earth Day continues with plenty of local opportunities to learn and contribute to the health of Mother Earth and her future. Here are a few:
For those curious about electric cars, Earth Day offers an opportunity to up your knowledge. Drive Electric Earth Day will be celebrated at Deep Run Park and Recreation Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with Teslas, Mini-Coopers, BMWs and Chevrolets on site, along with education exhibits from Plug in America and the Electric Auto Association addressing basic questions about electric vehicle technology and benefits. Masks are required and people who register to attend will be entered into a drawing for a $250 Visa gift card.
April 24, 9900 Ridgefield Park-way, driveelectricearthday.org.
If you’ve never heard of plogging, Earth Day is the right time to find out. Plogging, a combination of jogging and picking up litter, began in Sweden and has found a home in Richmond the past few years. The fourth annual Earth Day Plogging Event happens April 25, starting at 11 a.m. in the parking lot of the pedestrian bridge to Belle Isle. There, organizers will hand out masks and gloves and provide hand sanitizer before heading over to Belle Isle. The cleanup runs from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., at which point the trash will be returned to the parking lot and the afterparty moves to Vasen Brewery.
April 25, keepvirginiacozy.org.
Combining a charitable donation with running or walking is the fifth annual Earth Day 1M, 5K, 10K, 13.1 and 26.2, which this year will be a virtual run or walk. Part of the registration fee will be donated to Wild Earth Allies, a group working to protect wildlife and habitats throughout the world. Once registered, participants choose their own route and distance to be completed April 22 or any time during the month of April. Bibs and medals are mailed out after registration and finishing times need to be reported.
Water is life and our local water could use some help. The Friends of Bryan Park are holding an Earth Day Water Cleanup on April 24 from 10 a.m. to noon. Boots, galoshes, mud shoes and even rain gear are suggested, depending on the forecast, while trash bags, grabbers and gloves will be provided. Registration is not required and participants should meet at Bryan Park Shelter No. 1 to begin.
April 24, Last Saturdays Water Cleanups on Facebook.
A new park is in the works on South Side and volunteers are needed to help clean up the property. The 13-acre parcel along Warwick Road is in an area short on green spaces and parks and contains portions of Grindall Creek, an important tributary to the James River. To kick things off the Capital Region Land Conservancy needs people to help pick up litter and debris from the forested portions of the property, the roadside and the creek April 29 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The city plans to design the park to meet the shared goals of the community with trails, a greenway with shared-use paths and possibly a natural area for students at Thomas C. Boushall Middle School to learn about watersheds and the environment. Masks are required when social distancing isn’t possible and the event is limited to 25 people, so register early to participate.
April 29, capitalregionland.org/events.
To learn more about the issues, there’s Earth Day 2021 Live, a virtual three-day summit themed Restore Our Earth. It begins with a global youth climate summit featuring panels, speeches and discussions with today’s youth climate activists including Greta Thunberg. That will be followed by a hip-hop caucus presenting the We Shall Breathe virtual summit that examines climate and environmental justice, connecting the climate crisis to issues of pollution, poverty, police brutality and the pandemic, all within a racial-justice framework. Day two focuses on education and day three focuses on natural processes, emerging green technologies and innovative thinking to restore the world’s ecosystems. The summit will be streamed live on the Earth Day website.
April 20-22, earthday.org/earth-day-2021.