This month marks the 42nd birthday of an idea born of hippie culture, the anti-war movement, and a growing awareness of air pollution. On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans joined demonstrations that marked the beginning of the movement for a cleaner environment and greener living.
If there’s a child of the ’60s, Earth Day may be it. Rachel Carson’s bestseller, Silent Spring, first raised environmental awareness in 1962. Seven years later, U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson, D-Wis., promoted Earth Day to educate the public about protecting the planet. That event led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.
Today, more than 1 billion people in 192 countries mark Earth Day. Area activites include:
Earth Day at the Detroit Zoo:
Craft projects, entertainment, a rock-climbing wall, games, and a scavenger hunt. Local conservation groups offer ecological tips.
9 a.m.-3 p.m. April 21. Royal Oak; 248-541-5717.
Earth Day Festival:
Nearly 50 local, nonprofit environmental exhibitors provide community education about green living. Music and sing-alongs, the All-Species parade, hands-on activities, crafts, and face painting.
Free. Noon-4 p.m. April 22. Leslie Science & Nature Center, Ann Arbor; a2earthday.org.
Earth Day & Garden Celebration:
Green crafts, reptiles and amphibians from the Nature Discovery, recycled-art contest and workshops, egg hunt (registration required), and music.
10 a.m.-3 p.m. April 14. U-M, Flint; 810-766-6763; webserv.mcc.edu/earthday.
Growing Green Earth Day Expo:
Local green vendors, environmental programs, career opportunities, information on green living, and hands-on activities.
Free. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. April 21. Lake Orion; 248.391.0304, ext. 143, oriontownship.org.
Sources: getgreen.com, treehugger.com, worldwatch.org, simplemom.net, earthday.org.