A lot has changed since the first Earth Day, which was inaugurated on April 22, 1971. From hybrid cars to curbside recycling, the push to conserve natural resources has become a proper mainstream movement rather than a niche market for hippies. It only took 41 years.
Savannah has had its fair share of Earth Day events during the last four decades - initially organized by community groups, and then the MPC, before being taken over by the City's Water and Sewer Department, who are in their eleventh year of hosting the annual celebration.
This year's Earth Day event, which takes place on Saturday, April 23 along the South end of Forsyth Park, will have a variety of opportunities to earn brownie points with Mother Nature - a bounty of locally sourced and organic foods, educational demonstrations, and over 100 exhibitors offering up eco-friendly products and services.
The event kicks off in the morning with RecycleRama - an opportunity to get rid of paint, tires, prescription medications, waste cooking oil, and other items that are tough to properly dispose of, and have them recycled.
"The purpose is to re-use the items that you can't do everyday," says Laura Walker, the Environmental Administrator with the City of Savannah. "It gives our citizens a way to be pro-active... They're contributing to the overall sustainability of our area just by doing that."
One notable event that will be going on during RecycleRama is a light bulb exchange hosted by the Chatham County Environmental Forum and Georgia Power. Bring in an incandescent light bulb and swap it for an energy efficient CFL bulb for free - a good opportunity to shave a few dollars off the electric bill before air conditioning season gets into full blast.
The celebration in the park kicks off afterward, and includes local produce via the regularly scheduled Forsyth Farmers Market, local and organic foods from local restaurants, live music, and exhibits from a variety of environmental groups, City departments and sustainably minded businesses.
"I'm truly amazed every day at how many individual efforts are out there in our city to make our lives and our city more sustainable," says Walker, who's been leading the effort to coordinate everything during the event.
Scattered throughout the day will also be a series of workshops covering topics like beehive keeping, composting, cooking with solar, green roofing and repurposing materials.
"The benefits of a healthy environment and healthy living style are catching on," says Walker. "Here, along the coast, it is so important. Our environment is exquisite and fragile, and we need to do all we can to protect it starting in our own homes and backyards."
Where: Bull St. and Park Ave.
When: April 23, 8-11 a.m.
Earth Day Celebration
Where: South end of Forsyth Park
When: April 23, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Earth Day Workshop Schedule:
11 a.m. - Beehive Keeping hosted by Faith Jaudon, Coastal Empire Bee Association
11:30 a.m. - The Joy of Composting hosted by Kelly Lockamy, SUGA
12:15 p.m. - City Chickens hosted by Bethany Jewell, Ethos
12:45 p.m. - Cooking with Solar hosted by Chef Chris Russell of FORM and Wes Jackson
1:45 p.m. - Green Roofs hostd by Stella Matthews, Atlantic Star Landscape Design
2:15 p.m. - Repurposing Materials Project hosted by Wooden Sheep
Earth Day Wheelie Bike Ride
Where: Bull St. and Park Ave.
When: April 23, 4 p.m.