I remember visiting Washington, D.C., with my family when I was in eighth grade. I was so excited that we were there around Earth Day. Leonardo DiCaprio — fresh off “Titanic” fame — was going to be on the National Mall for a rally to get people excited about saving our planet.
Twenty years later, I’m now a resident of the DMV myself and excited to see just how much the annual celebration has changed, both here and around the world. This year’s theme is “Protecting Our Species.” People are not just rallying around the cause; they are actively participating in cleanups and teaching the next generation in programs in and out of the classroom.
Around the D.C. metropolitan area, there are plenty of activities and events for those young, old and in between.
The Anacostia Watershed Society’s 2019 Earth Day Cleanup will be Saturday, April 13, at RFK Stadium’s Lot 8. Those who attend will be continuing the cause of the group: to protect and restore the Anacostia River. For details, visit anacostiaws.org.
At the National Zoo, children and families can attend the Easter Monday & Earth Optimism Celebration on Monday, April 22. There will be opportunities to meet with Smithsonian scientists and conservation partners who protect wildlife around the world, as well as animal demonstrations perfect for the next generation of conservationists. For details, visit nationalzoo.si.edu.
If celebrating Earth Day with a bit more artistic flair is your cup of tea, there will be an Earth Day Umbrella Stroll on Saturday, April 20, beginning at Andromeda Transcultural Health, 1400 Decatur St. NW. The art-filled stroll will end at Upshur Park and include decorated umbrellas, live music and art stations. There will be prizes for the best umbrellas, including Most Sustainable/Earth Friendly Umbrella and Best Community Umbrella. For details, visit eventbrite.com.
The first Earth Day happened on April 22, 1970. Millions protested the negative impacts of industrial development. Issues like smog, pesticides and other pollutants were discussed. Now, Earth Day is a global event, an event in which more than a billion people in almost 200 countries participate. It is known as the largest civic-focused day of action in the world.
13-year-olds today don’t just get excited about seeing Leonardo DiCaprio at a rally. They plant trees, clean up their cities, learn about recycling and more. Earth Day is just as much doing as it is saying. For more information on how to get involved, visit earthday.org.
THE MOST ENDANGERED SPECIES
According to Earth Day Network, which issued this year’s theme of “Protect Our Species,” the most endangered on the list are bees, coral reefs, elephants, giraffes, insects, whales and more. Still, according to Earth Day Network: “The good news is that the rate of extinctions can still be slowed, and many of our declining, threatened and endangered species can still recover if we work together now to build a united global movement of consumers, voters, educators, faith leaders and scientists to demand immediate action.”
- CORAL REEFS
- SEA TURTLES
- GREAT APES