The very first Earth Day took place April 22, 1970, and solicited the participation of tens of millions Americans to take a public stand in support of the environment and public health.
The idea for an Earth Day was proposed by Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. senator from Wisconsin. Along with a congressional delegation, Nelson observed the aftermath of the January 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, which released more than 90,000 barrels of crude oil into the Santa Barbara channel. The media coverage of this environmental catastrophe caused outrage all across our nation as photos of the devastation included images of dead sea lions, dolphins and water fowl.
Over the years, the village of Carol Stream and other local governments have championed Earth Day by hosting recycling collection events, highway and park cleanup days, environmental education programs in schools, ceremonial tree plantings and native flower landscaping of public properties throughout the community. Since 2008, the village and its recycling partners have collected and responsibly recycled more than 50 tons of electronics and shredded more than 14,000 pounds of personal documents collected at planned Earth Day recycling events.
With Earth Day 2013 fast approaching, the village has partnered with the Carol Stream Rotary Club, SCARCE, Working Bikes Cooperative and local Carol Stream electronics recycling firm Com2 Computer Solutions to host a community-wide recycling collection event Saturday, April 20, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Ferraro Town Center. Consumer items that have value on the post-consumer market are targeted for collection and include electronics, used books, worn athletic shoes, working bikes, wheelchairs, crutches and mobility walkers.
In addition, a full-service commercial shred truck will be on-site to shred residents’ personal documents. Each vehicle driving through the collection event will be limited to three banker boxes of documents for on-site shredding. In conjunction with the recycling collection event, the park district will host a Farmers Market & Eco-Festival from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. that will include environmental education as well as product and service offerings from dozens of exhibitors.
Carol Streamers are encouraged to mark the event by acting locally to benefit the environmental health of their home, neighborhood or community and in doing so, join with the estimated 180 billion residents from 180 countries in a global observance of Earth Day. What Nelson said back in 1970 still holds true today: “There is a great need for the introduction of new values in our society where bigger is not necessarily better, where slower can be faster and where less can be more.”
Christopher Oakley is assistant to the village manager of Carol Stream