Where does Earth Day matter? Not around here one passerby told me, when I asked. How does one not take a moment out of their lives to do something that will help us survive? I was told that if Earth Day was on a Saturday, we may get people to volunteer, to do neighborhood cleanups.” Why wait for the weekend?” I asked. “Cause people won’t have anything else to do, so why not?” was his answer.
I’ve been a tree-hugger for as far back as I can remember and I never remember not having a sense of guilt or shame when trash spun around in tiny-tornados in the hood carrying plastic, paper, dirt and other things and I did nothing. I never wanted to go around and pick up trash on the street or in the parks due to the fear of coming across hypodermic needles or dead animals. I never felt that I was responsible for keeping my neighborhood clean, I took comfort in street signs that read “Street Sweeping on Mondays” so I chalked it up to the city to clean up behind us. Boy was I wrong.
I did my part, cleaning the front of the stoop my friends and I perched ourselves on. We kept it clean for when our mothers wanted to hold the stoop down for us while we played basketball. We kept our immediate areas clean and did little to clean up the other litter that littered our street. Maybe on occasion, if rains were heavy and carried trash from up the street to the sewer that was in front of our apartment complex, we would clean it out so that it wouldn’t get clogged.
I’m sure there are others who may have had similar feelings when it came to taking care of their personal surroundings versus taking care of the environment.
How do we break away from the comfort of our self-designated areas and branch out to clean areas that we are not personally committed to? Being committed to the bigger picture is the best way to create a new habit of cleaning up, for the sake of keeping up!
One of our latest programs, Clean Parks Healthy Hearts, was created to host clean-ups in local area parks to maintain a clean and accessible environment for children to play and revitalized park space where adults and seniors can participate in health related activities, while enjoying the outdoors in their neighborhoods.
Fitness events, artist displays and fun activities for kids and families will be held at the parks that benefit from our efforts. Clean Parks Healthy Hearts, is our way to make sure that we do our part to keep our parks clean, safe and relevant.
So, let’s get back to Earth Day. Earth Day is an annual event that is celebrated on April 22nd in events that are held all over the world, to celebrate our planet and to recapture an understanding of its vulnerability and our reckless and senseless disregard. It is a day to focus on environmental protection and the role that we play in it.
As a community based organization and a full-time member of our community, we strive to do the best that we can for the community. Whether it’s hiking in the woods, urban-hiking through the city or cleaning up local parks, I hope that for Earth Day 2015 we can hold an ‘ED15’ event in our neighborhoods to show that we really do care about where we live and show the world what we are doing to protect our communities and to protect the environment.
Will it take a lot of work, education, time and patience to make Earth Day relevant in the Black Community, who knows but, we do know that with everyone’s help, our small difference, can make a huge difference.
Earth Day, Every Day