Earth Day was founded in 1970 by US Senator (WI) Gaylord Nelson to push the environment onto the national agenda. It is an inclusive event, attracting people of all religions and beliefs. But nonreligious groups have additional reason to celebrate Earth Day: those who don’t believe in heaven or divine intervention realize that this world is all we have and that it’s in our hands to protect our world. People who believe that the scientific method is the best way to gain understanding of our world can use Earth Day to focus attention on environmental issues, and secular groups can use this annual event to network with environmental groups and other organizations.
This year, several chapters and affiliates of the American Humanist Association are participating in Earth Day.
On April 25, the Central New York Humanist Association is participating in “Clean Up ‘Cuse,” in Syracuse, New York, in conjunction with a county-wide Earth Day litter cleanup. The local group has even made a friendly and inviting graphic to promote the event on social media.
The Humanists of North Puget Sound in Mount Vernon, Washington, are also participating in a litter cleanup. Members of the local group will be spending April 25 cleaning up Deception Pass State Park. They will have a picnic after the event to celebrate everyone’s hard work.
Several humanist groups are celebrating Earth Day by restoring their local beaches. The Red Bank Humanists in Red Bank, New Jersey, will take part in the “Clean Ocean Action Beach Sweep.” Not only will members of the local group be removing trash and debris, but they will be collecting data about local pollution in hopes of improved long-term effects for their community. The Myrtle Beach Humanists & Freethinkers in South Carolina host a monthly “Beach Clean-Up” at the Myrtle Beach State Park. Additionally, the group plans to officially participate in their state Adopt-A-Beach program. Last weekend, Myrtle Beach Humanists & Freethinkers hosted a talk on the “Environmental Rationale for Vegetarianism,” where members learned about how their food choices can make a large impact on global issues of climate change, deforestation, and water pollution.
Some humanist groups are celebrating Earth Day by having a booth at their local Earth Day festival. The Central Colorado Humanists are joining several other local organizations for a day filled with educational activities for both children and adults. Their booth will feature solar energy and wind energy activities for children. Over the past weekend, the Omaha Metro Area Humanist Association had a booth at their city’s annual Earth Day event. Many people stopped by to learn about humanism and the local group, and since then seven new members have joined their meetup group. What a successful event!
How do you plan to celebrate Earth Day?