Green is the color of independence, Vail Valley |

Green is the color of independence, Vail Valley

Cassie PenceVail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado The Earth is worthy of celebration every day and we in Colorado’s Vail Valley should worship said sphere regularly in recognition of its ability to give us everything we need, like food, water, air and shelter. Notice Escalade was not in the list of necessities.Though the Earth is getting more respect lately, it seems we need a tiny square on the calendar to remind us of our magical planets importance and fragility. So on Wednesday the official Earth Day I invite you to rally around our beautiful planet with the same fervor as you do other holidays, like Independence Day. After all, green is the color of independence. Sustainability will bring us freedom from foreign oil, freedom from poor air quality, freedom from polluted water, freedom from chemicals in our food, freedom from having to shave our legs every day.According to the Earth Day Network, Earth Day marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. senator from Wisconsin, proposed the first nationwide environmental protest to shake up the political establishment and force this issue onto the national agenda. On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values, writes the Earth Day Network.Nowadays, youd be hard-pressed to get that many people to show up to anything other than a professional sporting event or Clapton concert, but Earth Day Networks mission is to rally the troops. Founded by the organizers of the first Earth Day in 1970, Earth Day Network promotes environmental citizenship and year round progressive action worldwide. Through Earth Day Network, activists connect, interact, and impact their communities, and create positive change in local, national and global policies.So Earth Day is as good as time as any to start your civic participation to help shape a more sustainable society. There are many ways to get involved. Here are a few ideas to get you started:Attend Party for the Planet SaturdayWalk, skateboard, bike, carpool or ride the ECO Transit to the second annual Party for the Planet on Broadway Street in downtown Eagle. The Earth Day party starts early, from 9:30 a.m. to noon, with tree planting along Brush Creek. The caravan then moves to downtown Eagle.There will be a Skateboard Park Exhibition sponsored by CJs Board Shop in Gypsum, games for children, a food tent, and a beer garden serving New Belgium. Attendees will have the chance to learn about the latest sustainable ideas, products and solutions, including green cars.For the uber creative, Party for the Planet will host a Retro-Grade Recycled Parade, so pull your garbage and recycling from the curb and invent something worthy to strut down Broadway.Hardscrabble and Little Hercules will play into the afternoon. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own reusable plates, bowls, utensils and drinking containers for food and beverages, and if you bring your own cup youll receive $1 off in the beer garden.To help plant trees along Brush Creek, please RSVP to Carolyn Connolly with Gore Range Natural Science School at or 970-827-9725 ext. 13.To volunteer for Party for the Planet, an hour or the day, please RSVP to Hannah Irwin at or 970-827-9999.Host an Earth Day DinnerThe whole idea behind throwing an Earth Dinner is to spark discussion about peoples connection with food and the Earth, to identify everything youre eating (where and how its grown and the recipes origin) and to create a meal using as many local and organic ingredients as possible.Theresa Marquez is the catalyst behind the Earth Dinner. Shes the chief marketing executive for Organic Valley an organic cooperative that represents 750 organic farmers in 22 states and shes also an environmental activist, sitting on numerous boards promoting sustainable agriculture.Myself and some colleagues were lamenting about how everyone plants trees on Earth Day, when 70 percent of the worlds resources are used to grow food, said Marquez in a past interview. Why isnt Earth Day a national holiday? Well, theres no dinner. If you have a fun dinner that went along with Earth Day, everyone would start celebrating it.For more information on how to host an Earth Day dinner, visit http://www.earthdinner.orgVolunteerA good way to ease your concerns about the state of our environment is to volunteer with organizations that are working to improve it. The Eagle River Watershed Council is hosting its 10th annual Community Pride Clean Up day on May 2, and hundreds of volunteers are needed. You can form your own team (or join a team), and then volunteers bag trash from 9 a.m. to noon, followed by a barbecue at 4 Eagle Ranch in Wolcott from noon to 2 p.m. Not only will you tidy up your community, youll gain a sense of camaraderie too.Other organizations that need volunteers include the Eagle Valley Land Trust, the Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability and the Gore Range Natural Science School.Change a habitKick the bottled water habit and carry a reusable container, like a glass juice bottle. Change your light bulbs to a longer lasting, less energy-sucking compact fluorescent light bulbs. Skip driving for a day or join a carpool. Turn down your heat and throw on a blanket. Try to change one small habit everyday, even if its as small as buying an organic apple instead of a conventional one, because environmental solutions begin with our choices. And … have a happy Earth Day.Freelance writer Cassie Pence is married to the superhero of green cleaning Captain Vacuum, AKA Tim Szurgot. Together they own Organic Housekeepers, a cleaning company that uses strictly organic, natural and nontoxic cleaning products. Contact her at

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