Celebrating Mother Earth | Editorial

As the days grow longer and warmer, the birds start to sing and the flowers bloom, I can’t help but stand in awe of the beauty of this planet we live on. We all reside on a spinning rock floating through space encircling a giant ball of gas, just far enough away that Earth is able to support a vast array of complex living organisms.

On Thursday, April 22, many countries around the globe will celebrate the wonders of the planet in numerous ways, as part of Earth Day. The observance of Earth Day began in the United States in 1970, 20 years later it had grown to be honored in more than 140 countries. Last year, Earth Day was celebrated for the 50th time in the U.S.

On earthday.org, the official website for the international Earth Day celebration, it says the holiday began because, “In the decades leading up to the first Earth Day, Americans were consuming vast amounts of leaded gas through massive and inefficient automobiles. Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of the consequences from either the law or bad press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity. Until this point, mainstream America remained largely oblivious to environmental concerns and how a polluted environment threatens human health.”

On April 24, the semiannual Great Islands Cleanup will take place on all four of the ferry-served islands.

In keeping with San Juan County’s COVID-19 guidelines, wear your masks, practice social distancing, and remain with your household or ”pod.” There will be no congregating or gathering activities this year. For more information, visit www.plasticfreesalishsea.org events for more information about the events on all the islands.


Meet between 9-10 a.m. behind the Public Works buildings next to LSWDD (the Dump to pick up trash collection equipment and receive beach and roadway assignments.). Due to COVID considerations, registration will be a drive thru event where participants can register for a beach or road route, borrow trash grabbers, vests, and gloves. The first Zero Waste Hero Award will be given to Mike Moore this year at 10 a.m. following the registration. For more information about beach clean-up, contact James Skeet Townley, jtownley@blm.gov, or by calling 509-860-3972. To pick up garbage along roads, contact Nikyta Palmisani at Nikytap@lopezsolidwaste.org.


Meet at the Village Green in Eastsound at 10 a.m. to pick up your trash collection equipment and be assigned a beach or roadway. Be sure to bring back what you collect to the Village Green before 2 p.m. for the great islands diversion challenge. Contact Pete Moe by emailing pete@exchangeorcas.org or calling 360-376-4089.

San Juan

Contact Katie at katie@sanjuans.org to sign-up for a pick-up location (either a road or beach). You can get bags, grabbers, safety vests, and gloves at the San Juan County Public Works office at 915 Spring St. as of April 19. Drive through the Transfer Station at 212 Sutton Road on or around April 24 during regular business hours (from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Friday–Sunday and from 9 a.m.-noon, Monday) to drop off your litter and report your service. Please remember to have your totals of volunteer hours and miles of beach/road cleaned for the attendant so we can measure our Great Islands Clean-up impact.


For more information, contact Jennifer Woodbridge by emailing outsidelanguage1@gmail.com. Email Woodbridge ahead of time if you would like gloves, grabbers or bags. Collected trash can be dropped off at the Shaw Baseball Field parking lot, from 3-5 p.m. on the day of the event.