Today, Wednesday April 22nd, 2020, marks the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day! While we may not be able to celebrate together in person, there are many ways that we can contribute to a healthy environment and community --even in isolation! Join the Council in keeping our watershed clean, safe, and enjoyable for all, today and for future generations.
Earth Day is all about raising awareness of environmental issues, encouraging one another to live sustainably, and celebrating the incredible gifts that nature provides. Today, we focus our attention on the progress we have made and the goals we still strive for towards cleaner water, more diverse fish and wildlife, and active community stewardship in our watershed. Earth Day wasn’t established as a national holiday until 1970, when a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson, witnessed the devastating impact of an oil spill in Santa Barbara, California, prompting him to organize a national “teach in” to educate and inspire environmental protection. Since then, Earth Day has helped to generate public support for the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as environmental laws such as the Clean Air Act, the Water Quality Improvement Act, and the Endangered Species Act. The Clean Water Act, in particular, has been a critical tool for local residents and stakeholders in our 25+ year effort to clean up the Columbia Slough. Thanks to the work of countless individuals and organizations, the Slough is cleaner today than it has been in a century! Of course, there is much more we can and should do and that is why Earth Day remains as important today as in 1970. As the Council heads into its second generation, there will continue to be legacy industrial pollutants to contend with but also new contaminants we are just beginning to understand, not to mention the vexing challenges of a warming climate, social injustices, a pandemic, and growing economic disparities. It can all seem daunting but Earth Day reminds us that we each have the power to make the world a better place. When we look back on the Council’s 25 year history or 50 years of Earth Day, we can see an important pattern emerge: big change takes time, perseverance, and collective action. So while the COVID-19 pandemic has turned most everything upside-down, we can still do our part for the Slough. Join us in a virtual Earth Day 2020 and explore a variety of ways to do your part while staying home! Though we may be stuck indoors, we certainly aren’t without things to do to help advocate for a healthy environment. Read below for a number of ideas and activities to celebrate our first virtual Earth Day together.
Make a Pledge and a Plan to Take Action Join Earth Day Oregon’s #MyPlanetMyPledge campaign by writing down an action that you can take to live more sustainably, and developing a plan to help you follow through! Click here for ideas. Make sure to tag us in your online pledge!
Learn about our Watershed with Slough School at Home Our amazing Education team has begun creating virtual activities, resources, and video lessons to keep you and your family engaged in environmental learning during the quarantine! Check it out on our website here.
Support Local Environmental Organizations Make a gift to help your local environmental nonprofits continue delivering on their mission during these challenging times. If you are passionate about the work we do at the Columbia Slough Watershed Council, donate during the month of April for your chance to win a new kayak! More info here.
Learn about the Green New Deal
Learn about the Portland Clean Energy Fund
This new initiative creates $54 to $71 million each year for green jobs, clean energy, and green infrastructure projects in Portland. A coalition of frontline communities successfully lobbied for passage of this measure in 2018, with a focus on benefitting local business and frontline communities. Learn more from the PCEF Coalition and the City of Portland.
Help Influence Metro's Decisions about Natural Area Investments Last November, voters in greater Portland supported a $475 million bond measure to further protect clean water, restore fish and wildlife habitat, and provide opportunities for people to connect with nature close to home. Raise your voice and help advocate for more projects that improve climate resilience and racial equity in our communities. Sign up for updates from Metro here.
Become a Steward of Your Own Home Engage in a litter cleanup around your neighborhood or spend time in your yard looking for and removing invasive plant species! All you need is a bag, some gloves, and your mask! Now, more than ever, time spent safely outside can be so good for you.
Stand Behind Science
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is pushing forward with a rule that could have a profound impact on what kinds of scientific studies it's allowed to consider for decision-making, removing its ability to consider studies where the raw data can't be made public—a move to politicize and disregard science, which is widely opposed by scientists. As the coronavirus crisis has made clear, when it comes to public health, we need to be taking the lead from scientists, not pushing them aside. Sign the petition here.
Plant a Tree The Earth Day Network has a goal of planting 7.8 billion trees by 2020 – one tree for every person alive. By planting trees, you’re taking a tangible action and you’re taking part in this bigger goal. Don’t forget to check out these tree planting tips before you get started.
Watch Free Earth Day Films
Both The Earth Day Film Fest and One Earth Film Festival will be streaming new films and documentaries that explore myriad of environmental issues. Make a bowl of popcorn, get cozy on the couch, and learn something new!