Earth Day, April 22, 2016
Written by Sister Kathleen Bierne

The first celebration of Earth Day in the United States took place in April of 1970. We are still struggling with some of the same issues that prompted Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin to organize a “teach in” on environmental issues. His motivation for doing so was the disastrous oil spill that took place in Santa Barbara, CA in 1969. His efforts touched a nerve and by April 20, 1970, twenty million people across the United States gathered to rally against not only oil spills but toxic dumps, use of pesticides, raw sewage contamination and the loss of wilderness areas. In 1990 Earth Day went global and in March of 2000 the United Nations approved the Earth Charter which laid out the principles needed for the world community to take responsibility for planet Earth. At the United Nations Sustainable Development Summon on September 25, 2015, world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice and tackle climate change by 2030.

According to Susan Clayton, Professor of Environmental Studies at Wooster College in Ohio, there are two things that we can do to carry out the goals of Earth Day here and across the globe:
1. Promote understanding of environmental issues, and the critical actions needed to protect our planet
2. Commit ourselves to service in and around Earth Day (and throughout the year) that makes our piece of earth here in South Dakota healthier and preserves our land, water, air and other natural resources for future generations.

Here in the Aberdeen area we can join in the 46th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22nd. Green Aberdeen, under the leadership of Rev. Enno Limvere, has organized a family friendly celebration from 5:00-8:00 at the Briscoe Building, 224 1st Ave. SE. If you wish, you can participate in “cleaning up” any litter in the downtown area from 5:00-5:30. There will also be vendor booths, live music, art and game venues, etc. We welcome you to participate in this local/global effort to save our precious earth. S. Kathleen Bierne, Justice Commission, Presentation Sisters.