The Green Column #25

Earth Day 2010 Aims to Educate, Empower and Celebrate

April 19, 2010—Forty years ago, a group of concerned citizens gathered to demonstrate their environmental issues on the first ever Earth Day.

1970 was a colorful year, including the end of the Chicago Seven trial, the Apollo 13 drama, the U.S. invading Cambodia, students gunned down at Kent State and Jackson State, massive antiwar marches, Nixon mobilizing the “silent majority,” and the deaths of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin.

In spite of such trauma, it was in many ways a more optimistic time: man had just landed on the moon, world population was only 3.6 billion, Arab states had not yet used oil as a weapon, gasoline was under 30 cents a gallon. Millions of environmentalists organized and Nixon created the EPA.

Congress passed the Clean Water Act in 1972. In the 38 years since that historic piece of legislation, elected representatives have enacted safeguards for drinking water, guidelines for hazardous waste removal, restrictions on ocean dumping, incentives for recycling and a host of other sweeping changes aimed at preserving the environment we share.

Famed anthropologist Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” If you need proof of that sentiment, look no further than the efforts of Global Earth Day. Perhaps no movement better exemplifies Mead’s statement.

2010 marks the 40th anniversary of the first Earth Day, in which 20 million people gathered in protests and demands. In the years since, the Earth Day movement has swelled, while transforming into a global force for collaborative change and celebration.

But 40 years of progress is not enough to erase centuries of bad practices, while trying to recognize and correct the current missteps. Climate change is real, and the battle for environmental and community sustainability is more important than ever.

To that end, Lincoln’s Earth Day 2010 organizers have orchestrated a weeklong initiative to highlight the importance of sustainable living, while giving Lincoln citizens the opportunity to get a little dirt under their fingernails in the process. Headed by groups such as Lincoln Green by Design and Cleaner Greener Lincoln—and with the support of the Mayor’s office—Lincoln’s Earth Day is set for Saturday, April 24, 2010.

The campaign kicks off with the Saturday, April 17th, Day of Service, in which participants can clean up streams, help Husker Football tailgaters recycle and plant trees at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo. The following Thursday (April 22nd—the calendar Earth Day) is billed as the Day of Conversation, in which a litany of lectures and forums will be held across town to discuss important issues in food and water sustainability, green business practices, policymaking and climate change science. Finally, the week culminates with the April 24th Day of Celebration, which will begin with a Fun Run on the Mopac East Trail and conclude with concerts and family events at Antelope Park from 2 p.m.–6 p.m.

Organizers are urging all Lincolnites to take part in as much of the week as they can. If you’re looking to dig in, attend the Day of Service. If you want to learn more, attend a lecture on the Day of Conversation. And if you’re ready to celebrate a week’s worth of activities aimed at making a greener Lincoln—and the successes of 40 years of Earth Day—take part in the Day of Celebration.

It’s everybody’s planet. And everybody can do their part. Join the group of thoughtful, committed citizens looking to make Earth Day 2010 the biggest ever.

Earth Day 2010 Schedule of Events
To learn more about any of the following events, visit or email

  • April 17: Day of Service. Put green thinking into action with three scheduled activities in Lincoln. You can help clean up the streams at Wilderness Park, help Husker Football Spring Game tailgaters recycle or plant trees at the Lincoln Children’s Zoo.
  • April 19-23: Green Wheels. Teams of four will spend the week traveling by bus, bike and carpool in an effort to reduce their collective environmental footprint.
  • April 21: Make Green by Going Green. This luncheon at the Embassy Suites will educate local business owners on how they can boost their bottom line with green practices and products. Cosponsored by Think Green Consulting and Cleaner Greener Lincoln, the luncheon covers the myriad benefits of going green at work.
  • April 22: Earth Day/Day of Conversation. One of Earth Day’s primary goals is to educate and inform. Six separate events will be held across the city to discuss topics such as sustainable development, food systems, sustainable design, climate change science and public policy making.
  • April 23: Tree Planting Along 15th Street. Students from McPhee Elementary will join Mayor Chris Beutler to plant trees, and learn proper tree-planting techniques, as well as the importance of trees in our environment.
  • April 24: Day of Celebration. Join participants for a morning run on the Mopac East Trail, and then head over to Antelope Park from 2 pm–6 pm for a celebration of green. The event will feature a solar-powered concert from local bands and dance troupes, while plenty of events for everyone in the family will be held throughout the afternoon.

© Lincoln Green by Design