With all the talk about going green and building a sustainable planet, its easy to miss some of the awesome action individuals and organizations are taking to make the world a better place. This past weekend, Radio 92.9 & Whole Foods Market teamed up to present EarthFest with musical performances from Third Eye Blind, Switchfoot, Eve 6, Spin Doctors and local Boston artist Twin Berlin. Thousands of people came out to hear some great live music while meeting environmental non-profits from across the country, tasting free samples from Whole Foods companies that focus our attention on being green, and experiencing Kids’ Planet – an interactive family area with environmentally focused learning, volunteer opportunities, and exhibits for children.
In addition to EarthFest, only a few short weeks ago more than 175 countries celebrated Earth Day where volunteer events were held worldwide to increase awareness and appreciation of the earth’s natural environment. Did you know Earth Day was designated to be held on April 22 in 2009 by the United Nations??? For Earth Day 2012, the AltruHelp team joined nearly 4,000 other Boston volunteers for the 13th annual Earth Day Charles River Cleanup.
Volunteers grabbed nets, bags, and pick sticks; spreading out over the 80+ miles of the river to eventually remove an estimated 15-20 tons of trash! After scouring the river banks, volunteers made their way to the hat shell to enjoy free food & refreshments provided by Boloco, Odwalla, and more! The event was led by a team of organizations working to protect the river including the Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA), the Esplanade Association, the Charles River Conservancy, Emerald Necklace Conservancy, and the Department of Conservation and Recreation.
Earth Day marked a celebration of sorts as the Charles River had recently been awarded the Thiess International River-prize in excellence in river management and had been given a “B+” grade by the Environmental Protection Agency. A “B+” may not sound like overwhelmingly good news but keep in mind that as recently as 1995 the EPA graded the river a “D” meaning it was not safe for swimming and even boating given the daily water quality. The EPA has made it a goal that the river will be swimmable in the near future (FUN FACT: the river was a popular place to swim up until the mid-20th century).
Our contribution on Earth Day combined with the commitment of so many concerned Boston citizens and dedicated organizations over the years has made the Charles River a vibrant space in the community for everyone to enjoy! As CRWA’s executive director Bob Zimmerman noted “For 13 years we have been celebrating Earth Day by organizing one of the largest river clean-ups in the nation – a day devoted to helping the river with lots of friends. This year, we are also celebrating the 42nd Earth Day, the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, and the Charles receiving the International River Foundation’s River prize.”
So whether its volunteering on Earth Day, mingling at celebrations like EarthFest, or even just using less water when you shower & brush you teeth, it’s never to late try being more green. Each of us CAN make the planet a better place.