It’s been more than 47 years since the first Earth Day brought focus to protecting the planet’s natural resources. This year, more than 1 billion people are expected to celebrate the occasion through a variety of events appreciating the natural resources we have available to us and considering ways to preserve them for the future. And, nowhere is the celebration bigger than it is in Texas, with an event recognized by the Earth Day Network as the largest on Earth.
Earth Day has come a long way since the event was first celebrated in 1970 in the United States. U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin started Earth Day because he was concerned about environmental degradation and he wanted to encourage the public to become involved in protecting the environment. The annual event is now recognized in 196 countries according to the Earth Day Network, which says its mission is to “broaden and diversify the environmental movement worldwide and to mobilize it as the most effective vehicle to build a healthy, sustainable environment.”
While Earth Day celebrations will take place throughout the state and the world, the biggest anywhere will be April 21-23 at Fair Park in Dallas. That three-day extravaganza includes a film festival, concerts along with guest speakers, exhibits and children’s activities. In 2016, more than 130,000 people attended the event, which features more than 700 exhibits and 250 speakers.
While some will attend festivals to mark Earth Day, there are plenty of ways to mark the event. Whichever way you choose, it’s an opportunity to remember the importance of taking care of our planet, including the water resources available to us.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is encouraging people to celebrate Earth Day in a variety of ways, including enjoying an outdoor adventure. Outdoor recreation opportunities are abundant in the Brazos basin, including at the BRA’s three reservoirs, Lake Limestone, Lake Granbury and Possum Kingdom Lake.
The TCEQ also has a website, Take Care of Texas, that encourages people to focus on ways you can help conserve water, keep water clean, protect air quality and reduce waste not just on Earth Day, but every day. The website has a section for kids with tips on recycling, and it also has an annual children’s art contest.
Closer to home, a number of events are slated for the Brazos River basin, such as Bryan-College Station’s Brazos Valley Earth Day on April 22, Abilene’s Earth Day & International Dayz of the Hippie on April 20, and the Granbury Earth Day Celebration on April 22.
The Brazos Valley Earth Day will feature educational booths, environmental demonstrations and a kid’s zone; Abilene’s celebration will have live music and a chance to play miniature golf, and Granbury’s event will include educational speakers and music.
While many of the events will feature a variety of entertainment and children’s activities, the day is also an opportunity to remind people of the importance of taking care of our planet, including the water resources available to us.
There is no shortage of resources available to help you learn more about how you can make a difference. For more information on ways to help protect the environment, whether it’s Earth Day or not, visit Take Care of Texas, the EPA's WaterSense, and EarthDay.org.
The Brazos River Authority promotes conservation as a way to help ensure we have the water resources needed to sustain our state’s growing population. Simple efforts like fixing water leaks, recycling, and watering your lawns in the late evening or early morning (to reduce evaporation) can make a big difference in helping our environment.
Tips on water conservation are available here. Advice on preventing contamination on waterways can be found here.
More information on things to do at BRA reservoirs, including the trail system at Possum Kingdom Lake, is available here. For those who are interested in planning a canoe or kayak trip on the Brazos, more information is available at SouthwestPaddler.com.