“Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.”- John Lubbock

This year marks the 51st anniversary of Earth Day on Thursday, April 22, 2021.

Earth Day was first celebrated on April 22, 1970, when 20 million people across the United States called for action and advocated for the protection of our natural resources.

This celebration helped enact the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act. It also helped establish the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Before Earth Day, millions of Americans experienced exposure to environmental degradation and pollution. Since then, the EPA and other organizations have made tremendous strides in the effort to protect our natural resources and our citizens from the effects of industrialization. Presently, Earth Day serves as a positive reminder that we should all be stewards of our environment and do our part to make our world a safer, cleaner, and better place. 

Earth Day is a great reminder for us to continue to reduce our environmental footprint and limit our energy consumption. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency lists a few simple ways we can all get a little greener in our everyday life through checking for toilet leaks, reducing food waste, and recycling. Changing simple habits can have a profound effect on the world around us. Learn more about what you can do here: pca.state.mn.us/living-green/living-green-citizens

I am proud to say that our region has developed numerous groups with longstanding traditions that aim to give back to our natural world and improve our community. In the past month, I hosted a Town Hall meeting of residents who are concerned about legislation related to preserving Minnesota’s clean water, air and wildlife habitat. Members of the Northeast Metro Climate Action group (northeastactionclimateaction.org) were well represented, as well as the group backing the Prove It First legislation (SF 942). I have co-authored this bill to protect the BWCA from potential pollution.

The Race2Reduce conservation curriculum came about from legislation I introduced several years ago. It is gratifying to meet young people who have gone through the program and now call themselves “Water Warriors.”

Over the next few weeks, communities across the state are holding events in support of Earth Day. Here are just a few of the events that are happening within our area.


Century College

Century College is hosting a day of Earth Day activities from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, April 29. The highlight will be two conversations with famed explorer Will Steger at 12:30 p.m. and also 6 p.m. Other activities and presentations include talks by Century College instructors and a presentation by the City of White Bear Lake. For more information, please visit the Century College website at century.edu.




White Bear Lake

White Bear Lake will be having a Spring Clean Up on Saturday, May 1, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. The location is 4200 Hoffman Road, the site of the former public works department. Hazardous waste is not accepted.



The Mahtomedi Collection Day will be held Saturday, May 1, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Wildwood Elementary School.


Ramsey County

While the county’s Earth Day cleanup has traditionally been a large group volunteer event, no formal gathering is required to make a difference this year. Individuals and households are invited to participate by picking up litter at any of Ramsey County’s open parks. 


Washington County

Washington County encourages people and families to celebrate Earth Day by planting a tree, picking up trash at a local park, planting wildflowers, creating a birdhouse or feeder, or making a craft out of recycled materials.

Here are five additional ways to celebrate Earth Day everyday: 

1. Take shorter shower instead of baths to conserve water

2. Turn the lights off when you are not in the room 

3. Don’t use plastic bags and bring your own reusable bags

4. Pay as many bills as possible online 

5. Walk or bike as much as possible instead of driving a car 

For additional local Earth Day activities, please check the websites of area cities. 


Sen. Chuck Wiger represents Senate District 42. He can be reached at sen.chuck.wiger@senate.mn or 651-296-6820.

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