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Ask E: What is the point of Earth Day?

The Homepage, published by Hazelwood Initiative

Erika "E" Johnson is a Pittsburgh native, a singer-songwriter, writer and founder of Beata Beatus Co. Find out more at www.erikadenaej.com.Photo courtesy of Erika Johnson

Dear E,

I feel dumb asking this, but what is the point of Earth Day? How am I supposed to make a difference on this one day that goes just as quickly as it comes?


Dear Eco-curious,

As my middle school teachers used to say, “No question is a dumb question.”  We are all in the process of learning how to exist on this planet with the current pandemic. Many of us are navigating how to exist and live in a way that benefits the health and wellbeing of ourselves and others amidst our ever-changing environments.

Earth day is somewhat the same. The purpose is to spread awareness to shift your consciousness on how to navigate living your life while also benefiting the health and wellbeing of the planet. 

In 1970 a senator named Gaylord Nelson created and founded ‘Earth Day’ so that environmental issues would be seen as an urgent matter and get put on the national agenda. Back then it wasn’t an important issue to Congress, but his efforts helped to create a sector called the Environmental Protection Agency that regulates laws like the Clean Air and Water Acts to help protect our ecosystem and the effects of technological and industrial advancements.

 In 2020, when Covid was in full force and the whole world was basically shut down, CNN reported that air quality improved in 84% of countries around the world. It was a substantial decrease and was proof that such drastic global environmental change can happen in a short period of time when there is a collective effort.

Since nobody wants to be in lock down again, here are some things I have found that you can do and share with your family, friends and close networks to raise the level of urgency around keeping our earth as healthy as possible. The more that you share what you’re doing with others, the more you can contribute to Earth Day and its purpose of spreading awareness so that every small effort will eventually make a big impact.

  • If your destination is less than a mile away, walk or bike in style and reduce idle time with the car running. This lowers your carbon footprint, or how much you contribute to climate change.
  • Don’t forget the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. You can also compost to reduce methane formation in landfills. 
  • Volunteer or donate to organizations like the Student Conservation Association and sign up for newsletters to get involved and educated about what they’re doing.

Editor’s note: To sign up to have your cardboard, food and yard waste collected for composting in the Greater Hazelwood area, go to http://tinyurl.com/HazelwoodFRS.

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The Homepage is a print newspaper delivered monthly to households in Greater Hazelwood, Glen Hazel, Greenfield, Hays, New Homestead, Lincoln Place and The Run. Hazelwood Initiative, Inc., a community-based nonprofit, publishes The Homepage through a grant from the City of Pittsburgh and advertising revenue from local businesses and organizations. The mission of Hazelwood Initiative, as a community-based development corporation, is to build a stronger Hazelwood through inclusive community development. Sonya Tilghman, Executive Director of Hazelwood Initiative, Inc. (she/her) Juliet Martinez, Managing Editor of The Homepage (they/them) Sarah Kanar, Layout and Design of The Homepage(she/her)

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