This past Saturday the 21st, Elmwood Park was filled with rows of booths, live music, and a chattery crowd of people. The 29th annual Earth Day Omaha was held as a way to celebrate Omaha’s strides to become a cleaner city.
“There’s a lot of initiatives going on, like a lot of our vendors at Earth Day today have implemented some sustainable and environmental strategies into their businesses,” said Forsen. “For example, we just gave an award today to Morrissey Engineering, because they are super devoted to implementing sustainable practices into their businesses.”
Earth Day Omaha was also held as the Metro area’s way of educating residents of ways to be more environmentally-friendly.
“Even though we hold Earth Day Omaha once a year, we hope that everybody is mindful about the Earth everyday of the year,” said coalition board member, Sasha Forsen. “Contact organizations like the Green Omaha Coalition to find out how you can be involved. Pay attention to the news, [and] make sure you vote if you’re able to. If you can’t, start initiatives at your school, research and look into how you can help your specific corner of the world, [and] how you [can] make that a better place to live in.”
Not only are individuals and local businesses working towards becoming cleaner running, but local government is also trying to make steps towards a greener future for Omaha.
“Local government, of course, [is implementing] renewable energy [which] is incredibly important,” said Forsen. “A lot of candidates here today, like the OPPD Candidate Forum, I know a lot of them are running on renewable energy platforms. We also had US Congressional candidates, Kara Eastman and Brad Ashford also talking about how they want to bring our local desire to be environmentally sustainable to Washington and represent our district. Omaha is maybe considering a possible plastic bag ban, so there are a lot of things that local representatives are doing on a [local] level and national level for Omaha.”
This event wasn’t all about throwing facts at your face. Throughout the informational booths and handouts, there were crafts and activities for the younger audience, such as swing dancing, making paper butterflies, and assembling your own basil plant. Many of these interactive activities were meant to spark interests about the environment or other various hobbies outdoors.
Forsen is proud of the turnout, and since high schoolers have minimal say in what is going on around them, she closed with some advice.
“You don’t have to do these big, huge, grand, things. It’s starting small. Maybe it’s implementing recycling where you didn’t before, maybe it’s learning about things you didn’t know, maybe it’s implementing composting. There’s a lot of different things you can do, just start small.”
story, graphic and photos by vinny nelson