By Tim Vant –

I have fond memories of growing up in the Cariboo region—as a child, running through birch leaves and admiring the papery bark and the myriad of colours brought on by leaves, wildflowers, and grasses. Every bumblebee was a delight, and every fuzzy black and orange caterpillar a new joyful discovery.

Today, the same stand of birch trees we played in has been chopped down to make way for development. Are there better ways to preserve existing greenspace as Earth day turns 50 this year? As plastic production and consumption ramp up to unprecedented levels can we, at a community level, combat this trend with initiatives to reduce plastic use? What can we do to ensure clean air and water for our community in the next 50 years? These are a few questions worthy of reflection, not just on April 22 but every day.

While Earth Day didn’t go global until the 1990s it has been around since the 1970s, and it is credited with providing the necessary momentum to bring about environmental protection legislation. The now world-wide event motivates massive citizen walk-outs and demonstrations to raise environmental awareness. The theme for Earth Day 2020 is climate action and will include climate strikes around the world.

Looking around Cariboo towns it isapparent we also have a litter problem, not just in urban areas either. A hiker can see discarded pop cans, coffee lids, and plastic bottles even in less traversed areas. Please make the effort to pack out what you bring in if you are visiting the forest.

There is much to celebrate on this Earth day despite the challenges. Awareness is growing. Volunteers are banding together to pick up litter in the great global cleanup. More and more shoppers are bringing their own multiple-use bags regularly. More families are composting at home and feeding the soil in their neighbourhood. Shoppers are questioning retailers on packaging that is unnecessary or that could employ a compostable option.

Every year, local conservation organizers motivate students with Earth Day challenges to keep environment education and participation alive.

On this 50th anniversary of Earth Day, various people in Williams Lake and area are also banding together to plan several Earth Day events, including a climate strike and march, garbage pick-up challenge, and a prayer/energy healing for the Earth. Stay tuned on the details as these and other activities are organized. Visit the Williams Lake Climate Action Coalition Facebook page or www.wlclimateactioncoalition.com or watch the local papers and city pages for activities. Also, check out www.earthday.org for activities in the area and all over the world. Volunteer help with these or other related events would be appreciated.

Whatever activities you find on April 22, do take a moment to enjoy the beauty of nature that we still have and reflect. Earth is our home and a living, breathing reminder that every day is Earth Day. -GG

Tim Vant is a multi-disciplinary artist, editor, and author who has been involved in several different forms of expression. He has traversed many different mediums and artistic forms throughout the years.

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