Celebrate Earth Day 2023

Why celebrate Earth Day, especially with all the bad news lately? and why, especially here in Greater Newburyport?

Photo by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash
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ACES Leaders and Youth Corps

Editor’s note:

This is one in a continuing series of guest opinions about fostering environmental stewardship and leadership coordinated by ACES — The Alliance of Climate and Environmental Stewards.

Why celebrate Earth Day, especially with all the bad news lately? and why, especially here in Greater Newburyport?

There are lots of reasons including the self-preservation of humans and the health of all Earth’s creatures.

This special day coming up on Saturday, April 22, was started in 1970 by late Wisconsin Sen. Gaylord Nelson. The senator believed that change comes “generationally.” As youth grow up and assume their places in the world, they become responsible for adopting necessary changes, in this case, environmental changes.

According to EarthDay. org: “The 1970 event mobilized millions of Americans from all walks of life, giving birth to a broad new movement to protect the planet. On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans — 10% of the U.S. population at the time — took to streets, college campuses and hundreds of cities to protest environmental ignorance and demand a new way forward. The first Earth Day is credited with launching the modern environmental movement. Earth Day is now recognized as the planet’s largest annual civic event, celebrated each year on April 22nd”.

At its inception, Earth Day was started in the form of “teach-ins” across college campuses. At “teach-ins” talks and soap box speakers rallied campus crowds, presenting the reality of Earth’s slow destruction by the excesses of modern technical and business models. Those students committed to taking care of the Earth, pushing toward advances, such as the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1970, the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972, and the banning of DDT pesticides in many countries throughout the 1970s.

The Merrimack Valley directly benefited from those changes brought about by the banning of DDT, as the eagle population recovered and today brings nature photographers and bird watchers to our region as eco-tourists. Earlier, the Merrimack River was a manufacturing wastewater stream for textile mill dyes and tannery chemicals. Cleaning the water and helping the birds thrive can be directly linked to the student activism on the first Earth Day.

As disheartening as the news of sea level rise and climate change can be, there are actually a lot of good things happening locally to turn that around, from two species of sturgeon returning to the Merrimack River to the community’s acceleration towards renewable energy and conservation and care of open spaces.

A number of Massachusetts communities, including Newburyport, have made strong progress in sourcing electricity from renewable sources, advancing energy and cost saving in cooperation with “Mass Save” to help pay for residential insulation and heat pumps as examples. and around the country individual citizens working locally and acting personally have taken a basketful of other steps to protect our homes and our planet from climate change.

There is still lots to do to preserve this beautiful planet for future generations. But we need to take time to recognize all the good work that’s being done locally already, especially by ACES Allies and refresh ourselves to keep the work moving forward.

So, let’s celebrate what has been achieved and resolve to do more for the care of our planet. You might also wish to view the current exhibit of Windows for Change at 24 retail locations ( and the EarthPort Film Festival on April 23 at the Firehouse (

We hope you will come to Newburyport for its Earth Day celebration and bring the kids. It will be fun and a small act of encouraging environmental awareness for the next generation. We need to think globally while acting with others locally to support the Earth and its creatures. On Earth Day, please speak with one of ACES Allies about how you might help personally.

Our Youth Corps team members hope that you will sign up for our free newsletter [] and act. Together we can take important actions to help our Earth heal.

To learn more about ACES and its initiatives, visit

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