Editorial – Continue celebrating Earth Day all year

Published 5:13 pm Friday, April 21, 2023

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Saturday is the day annually recognized as Earth Day, a time people worldwide consider ways to make the planet a cleaner, healthier place to live.

Started in 1970 by former Wisconsin senator and governor Gaylord Nelson, what started as a day of protest against air and water pollution, has grown into one of action. Lots of folks recognize the day by picking up some litter, planting a tree or some flowers or loading up items to take for recycling.

The efforts of local residents in Suffolk focused on Earth Day have garnered the attention of the Keep Virginia Beautiful Program. 

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Saturday’s Suffolk Earth and Arts Festival and the new LOVE sign created by welding students at the College and Career Academy at Pruden are two great ways our community is recognizing the importance of what we have in the city. They both got recognition on the organization’s website.

We believe KVB is right in an article published a few years back that Earth Day is something that shouldn’t be limited to a day or a week, it can be something we all tend to everyday.

We in Suffolk have so much to celebrate with our beautiful outdoor venues, the city’s regional and neighborhood parks, our waterways and the Great Dismal Swamp, to name a few. They offer us an abundance of ways to get out and enjoy the outdoors with trails, picnics, fishing and boating, or just taking a relaxing nap under the shade of a tree.

Protecting the beauty of our community, our region and Mother Earth can be as easy as undertaking some simple things, as KVB points out.

Take those plastic grocery bags, as an example. A simple change to reusable bags can eliminate up to 120 shopping bags in a year for each family, Keep Virginia Beautiful estimates with the help of the folks at Food Lion. Imagine the difference this would make with thousands of us moving to reusable ones and eliminating them from the wastestream.

The Farmer’s Almanac had some great ideas in a story on its website, almanac.com, with ways we can do things that will improve our environment and make a difference.

The Almanac’s suggestions include:

  • Plant pollinators that bring butterflies, bees and hummingbirds to the back yard. This can improve all of the other plants throughout the community, plus those right in your own yard.
  • Take a stroll through the neighborhood or a local park and pick up plastic. This has become a major problem as plastics find their way into our waterways and our food supply.
  • Make a move to biodegradable household products.
  • Plant and nurture a tree either in your yard or out in the community. Then enjoy watching it grow.
  • Make a move to wildflowers and native plants because they support the local habitat better than those from other areas. The local Extension Office can help with finding what is right for your yard.
  • Stop using chemicals and pesticides, which will save you money. Extension agents can again help here by offering natural ways to foster a beautiful yard or garden.
  • Conserving water is also important. One easy way to do this is to collect rainwater and use it to water plants.

By adopting even a few of these ideas, it can become fun as all of the family and the children join in to celebrate Earth Day year round. Plus it can make a big difference as we protect the natural beauty we have here in Suffolk, the Western Tidewater region and beyond.