Earth Day Turns 37, Maui News, 04/07
Source: Maui News
Earth Day, April 22, has become a permanent fixture on calendars as a day to celebrate the natural wonders of our big blue marble floating in space.
The idea came from then U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. In 1970, the first Earth Day was organized by Denis Hayes and involved an estimated 20 million participants across the United States.
On Maui, Earth Day is more like Earth Week.
Today, the Maui Nui Botanical Gardens, which specializes in preserving and propagating native Hawaiian plants, will have a celebration from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Sunday the Coral Reef Alliance takes volunteers on a dry and wet cleanup effort. There is a long list of Earth Day-related events in the coming week on Maui.
The botanical gardens on Kanaloa Avenue in Wailuku will celebrate with educational efforts by organizations representing conservation, Hawaiian cultural preservation and recycling. Entertainment will include performances by George Kahumoku Jr., Richard Ho’opi’i, Anthony Natividad, Halau Wehiwehi O Leilehua and Ahumanu. Admission is free.
Sunday’s commemoration of Earth Day includes Haleakala National Park waiving entrance fees for climate-friendly vehicles such as electric-hybrids and biodiesel cars. At Baldwin Beach Park, an Earth Day Festival with speakers and music will run from 10 a.m. to sunset.
The Coral Reef Alliance will be conducting a series of “Dive in to Earth Day” activities beginning Sunday. They include litter pickups along shorelines and divers collecting debris from reefs.
In the islands, near-shore waters are being degraded by overuse and runoff. Open space is needed to maintain the islands’ appeal for both residents and visitors, who are the chief engine of our economy. Protecting the environment is a responsibility shared by government and individuals. Parks need better maintenance and state-owned parks and lands need careful supervision. The responsibility extends to public and private planners, who must look beyond immediate demands and expectations.
It’s a daunting responsibility but one that must be actively assumed. In Hawaii and on Maui, every day should be Earth Day.