A Day for Nature Lovers

Earth Day Celebrates its 40th Birthday Locally with Festivals and Consciousness-Raising

Forty years ago this April, the very first Earth Day was observed, helping set the stage for the modern environmental movement. Originally conceived as a protest against the despoiling of the Earth’s natural resources and the federal government’s inattention to the issue, that inaugural event, held on April 22, 1970, drew in some 20 million Americans who took to their local streets, parks and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment. Their efforts eventually bore fruit through the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and passage of the federal Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species acts.

Fast-forward four decades: With the world now in the midst of the “green revolution,” Earth Day is perhaps even more pertinent in 2010 than it was in 1970. Fortunately, residents of the Big Bend won’t need to travel far this spring to show their appreciation for all that nature has given them.


Festival Combines Celebration, Education

“Love the Earth, teach the children.” That’s the motto of the Florida Earth Day Jam, a local music festival and environmental exhibition that promotes conservation, sustainability and green living.

Florida Earth Day Jam 2010 will take place Saturday, April 24, at the Bradfordville Blues Club (off Bradfordville Road, about three miles east of Thomasville Road). As it did last year, the festival will feature hot regional and local musical acts on four stages, both indoors and outdoors, throughout the day and well into the evening. An onsite educational exhibition will include dozens of nonprofit organizations, green businesses and local government programs. Artists, craftspeople and fair-trade distributors, as well as food and drink vendors, will be selling their wares as well.

The Earth Day Jam is a community service project of The Magnolia School, in partnership with Leon County, the city of Tallahassee and local nonprofit groups. The small, private school has fewer than 60 students in grades K-8, but don’t let its size fool you: The parents, friends and alumni put on quite a show.

For more information about the family-friendly festival, including a schedule of performances and ticket prices, visit earthdayjam.org. Go to themagnoliaschool.net to learn more about the environmentally friendly Magnolia School.

Educational booths and children’s activities are on the agenda for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s annual celebration, which will be held on the “official” Earth Day, Thursday, April 22, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. It all takes place at the Florida Capitol, both within the Plaza Level rotunda and at Waller Park on the Capitol’s west side. For more information or to get involved, call Vanessa L. Williams of the DEP at (850) 245-2171 or e-mail her at vanessa.l.williams@dep.state.fl.us.

In addition, the city of Tallahassee — recognized by the Florida Green Building Council as a Certified Green City — traditionally schedules a week’s worth of events in observance of Earth Day. To learn more about the city’s plans, which were still being finalized at press time, call its Environmental Policy and Energy Resources Department at (850) 891-2476.


Cash for (Appliance) Clunkers

Speaking of all things environmental, if you’ve been considering replacing your out-dated and inefficient refrigerator or other household appliances, put those plans on hold … at least until Friday, April 16. Starting then and running through Sunday, April 25, Florida consumers can take advantage of the state’s own version of the federal “Cash for Clunkers” initiative.

Florida residents who purchase one of six energy-efficient residential appliances during this time may be eligible for a 20-percent rebate of the purchase price, not to exceed $1,500. Eligible appliances are refrigerators, freezers, washing machines, dishwashers, room air conditioners and gas tankless water heaters.

There are a number of rules and criteria to consider, so before you buy, visit myfloridaclimate.com and search for “Florida Energy Star Appliance Rebate Program,” or send an e-mail to energy@eog.myflorida.com.

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