Mount Vernon Column: Celebrating Earth Day

Mount Vernon Column: Celebrating Earth Day


This Friday, April 22, is Earth Day. It is a day to inspire and motivate ourselves to action to do our part to protect the environment. It is a time to provide an act of service to the planet. It is a day to celebrate nature.

So, in the spirit of Earth Day, I want to thank everyone who volunteered to help clean up Little Hunting Creek in the wind, rain and snow the other week with Senator Surovell and me. And, then again, last Saturday there were numerous other clean up efforts throughout our community, including in Riverside Estates, Stratford Landing, Gum Springs, and John Byers Park, just to name a few.

We hosted three cleanup sites at Janna Lee Avenue Bridge, Creekside Village Apartments and Mount Vernon Shopping Plaza. Together, over two dozen volunteers removed about 1800 pounds of trash filling 110 trash bags, netting about 10,000 pounds of total trash removed in the six years since Senator Surovell started his cleanup with help from Friends of Little Hunting Creek and the Alice Ferguson Foundation.

I am impressed by how many from the community and surrounding neighborhoods volunteered their time on a cold, snowy morning and participated in the annual cleanup. It was a testament to our community and neighbors of the creek that so many people do value this natural resource. And, I understand that the following week with the nice weather was an even bigger success. We all owe these volunteers a big thank you for sharing their valuable time to protect our environment by removing tons of trash, preventing it from polluting the Potomac and the Chesapeake Bay. A fantastic job!

On this Earth Day, April 22, I will be returning to where I was as a little boy on that first Earth Day, in 1970, at Burgundy Farm Country Day School, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. Burgundy is a wonderful school, and uses the natural world as a classroom. On Earth Day 46 years ago I was a young student at Burgundy. I learned about our ecology and the growing problems of air, water and soil pollution that contributed to today’s global warming crisis.

Everyone can celebrate Earth Day in their own way, from carrying a reusable water bottle, to biking to work or school, and significantly, planting trees, which can help lessen pollution by absorbing 48 pounds of carbon over a single year. Thanks for joining me this Earth Day to make a difference to protect our planet, and remember, it’s the only one we’ve got.