Earth Day is coming — celebrate our planet


What is Earth Day? And why does it matter?

The goal of Earth Day is to raise awareness for climate change and take action to protect the world’s resources and environment. On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans–10 percent of the U.S. population at the time–took to the streets and college campuses in hundreds of towns and cities to protest environmental issues and demand change for the planet going forward.

It took root. Fifty-three years later, people across the country still band together on Earth Day to express their concern for the environment.

“It is important to stop and reflect on our relationship with the earth and the short- and long-term consequences of that interaction for all people,” says Carol Ekstrom, chair of the Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship’s Green Sanctuary Committee.

In the Copper Country, more than a dozen organizations are sponsoring Earth Day programs this year. They include:

Sunday, April 16, 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Michigan Tech’s Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts. Keweenaw Youth for Climate Action is holding an Earth Week festival featuring art exhibits from 20 local artists and musical performances ranging from a joik (Scandinavian indigenous song) to jazz from the MTU jazz ensemble. Art vendors will be selling artwork and a pop-up book shop by The Well Read Racoon will sell Earth-themed books. There will be free morning buns baked by Bread Loafers Bakery.

Thursday, April 20, 4 to 7 p.m. The Sustainability Demonstration House at Michigan Tech will take over the dining hall at McNair to serve sustainable meal options with a plant-based menu. All waste will be diverted from landfill. There will be free guest passes available or you can pay at the entrance.  Open to the public.

Thursday, April 20, 6 to 8 p.m. in Fisher 125 at Michigan Tech, sustainable foods and movie night sponsored by Tech’s Office of Sustainability and Resilience.

Thursday, April 20, 7 p.m. in G002, MTU Forestry Building, film–“The Plastic Problem.” The film explores the issue of plastic pollution, now considered one of the largest environmental threats facing humans and animals globally. A facilitated discussion will follow the screening. The film is free, but a $5 donation is suggested to support the Sustainability Film Series. The Sustainability Film & Facilitated Discussion Series is coordinated by the Tech Forward Initiative for Sustainability and Resilience and co-sponsored by Keweenaw Land Trust, Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative, Friends of the Land of Keweenaw, Michigan Tech College of Forest Resources & Environmental Science, MTU Department of Social Sciences Sustainability Science Program, MTU Department of Civil, Environmental & Geospatial Engineering, Michigan Tech Center for Science & Environmental Outreach, the Sustainability Demonstration House; MTU Great Lakes Research Center, Students for Sustainability and Refill UP.

Thursday, April 20, 2023, 1-2 p.m. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) is sponsoring a student webinar called “Taking Clean Water Action in Your Community.” EGLE water resources staff will talk about some of the biggest issues facing waters in the area. Students and teachers who are addressing those challenges will also speak. Register at https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_AifseR3gQrWCCSM9FUCRzA#/registration EGLE also sponsored an Earth Day poster contest for elementary school students.

Saturday, April 22, noon-3 p.m. The Keweenaw Community Alliance for Progressive Education (CAPE) is sponsoring “Make It UP!, a makerspace program for Earth day. Participants will explore fun projects and learn how to be more sustainable and earth-friendly every day. Fourth floor, 417 Quincy Street, Hancock.

Saturday, April 22, 9 a.m.-noon. The Keweenaw Land Trust, the local chapter of Wild Ones and the Keweenaw Gardening Club are co-hosting the sixth annual Keweenaw Native Plant Symposium. There will be three free Zoom webinars. At 9 a.m. Erwin “Duke” Eisner will talk about plant selection to attract and support predator and parasitoid insects. At 10 a.m. Stephanie Graef will discuss the benefits to the ecosystem of living shorelines, and at 11 a.m. Nancy Lawson will present a talk called “A world of discovery: How science and heart can make you a more ecological gardener.” Advance registration required at https://keweenaw.wildones.org/2023-keweenaw-native-plant-symposium/ or http://keweenawlandtrust.org/.

Sunday, April 23, 10:30 a.m. Rev. Bucky Beach will present an Earth Day-themed sermon at the Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, in person and on Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83975762265?pwd=TC9BcStaTDF4dFZOU2ZsUHhZTERoUT09 Meeting ID: 839 7576 2265, Passcode: KUUF

From April 19 to May 2, the Keweenaw Co-op is giving a 10 percent Earth Day discount on all bulk food items.

Sunday, May 14, 10:30-11:30 a.m., Cheq Bay Renewables–a nonprofit working to make renewable energy more accessible in Ashland and Bayfield, Wisconsin, counties–will present a public forum on Zoom on individual and community solar projects, followed at noon by a picnic at the Houghton East Waterfront Park and a tour of local solar homes. Attend the forum at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83975762265?pwd=TC9BcStaTDF4dFZOU2ZsUHhZTERoUT09 Meeting ID: 839 7576 2265, Passcode: KUUF

The Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship is sponsoring “Write a letter to the earth,” inviting people to write a letter that starts: “Dear future generations,” expressing your reverence, care or concerns for the earth and the changing climate. Include your hopes and any tangible actions you will take or commitments you will make to care for the earth for those yet to be born. Email letters by April 23 to minister@keweenawuu.org. They will be incorporated into a May 7 service.

Keweenaw Green Burial Alliance (KGBA) members are celebrating their ongoing commitment to natural burial, without embalming or vaults. KGBA Board member Candy Peterson says: “After taking everything I am from the earth, I have made arrangements for my body, upon my death, to be returned, without embalming, to the earth.” Board member John Slivon adds: “Most people do not have much of an idea about biology and natural processes. I think that if they had a greater appreciation of the role of biology in their own lives, then green burial would be a no-brainer.”


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