Special to the Star
U.S. senator Gaylord Nelson came up with the idea for a “national teach-in on the environment” after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, Calif. Hoping to mobilize the politically active student community, he chose April 22nd (falling between spring break and final exams) as the official date. On that day in 1970, more than 20-million Americans took to the streets — as well as campuses, parks, and other public spaces — to demonstrate in support of a healthy, sustainable environment. By the end of the year, the United States Environmental Protection Agency had been created and the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts had all passed.
Two decades later, in 1990, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. Earth Day 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
Now, Earth Day is the largest secular observance in the world, celebrated by more than a billion people every year.
Native American people have long recognized and celebrated in story and song the interdependence of the earth and all its creatures. For the 20th anniversary of Earth Day in 1990, they were joined by more than 200 million people in 141 countries participating in celebrations of the planet that supports us.
The theme for this year’s Earth Day is cleaning up plastic pollution. Our Association supports these clean- up efforts and the focus is cleaning up plastic from waterways and the ocean. The Perry Ridge Water Users Association believes “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and that is why the Perry Ridge Water Users Association has worked to protect the local streams and the Slocan River since 1983.
It is unfortunate that once areas are open to the public, pollution follows. Opening up the headwater and alpine areas to use, including recreational use, puts clean water at risk to human waste, toxins as well as plastic.
There are many events locally celebrating Earth Day on Sunday, 22nd of April. We encourage people to support these events and our directors have chosen not to hold an event to allow the other locally planned events good attendance.
If you are unable to attend these Earth Day events or were unable to attend our World Water Day celebration, we invite you to spend some of your celebration visiting our website at: www.perryridge.org where our web master has made educational videos readily available. The categories include aboriginal water perspective, local water videos, and international perspective on the water crisis.
The Earth is unique in its life giving element of water, a gift that needs to be protected and cleaned up. We have uploaded videos on water to help with education about our planet and invite the public to view our website as part of your Earth Day Celebration.
Marilyn Burgoon is the president of the Perry Ridge Water Users