The Northern Lights are seen over the former #NoDAPL encampment in North Dakota in 2016. Photo: Joe Brusky
Environment | National

Jaclyn Lanae: Another Earth Day is upon us. Here's how you can get involved

Earth Day single most important cause

By Jaclyn Lanae
Native Sun News Today Correspondent

RAPID CITY - There are many reasons to gather together around a single idea, a particular cause, but Earth Day is, perhaps, the single most important cause. Absolutely universal in its impact, global environmental issues quite literally impact every soul, every species, every life form on the planet.

Sunday, April 22nd millions around the world will gather to raise awareness, advocate for, celebrate, and commemorate one of our most basic common denominators; our sacred, life giving Earth.

According to, the event began in 1970 and in this, its 48th year, organizers expect more than 1 billion people across 192 countries to participate. The leading organization associated with the event has deemed 2018 the year to focus on mobilizing efforts to end plastic pollution, starting with single-use plastics like straws, soda bottles, re-sealable plastic bags, plastic silverware, plates, cling wrap, food containers and even cigarette butts (most of which use thin plastic fibers to create the filter). These items take huge amounts of resources to produce - including “hydrocarbon molecules—derived from the refining of oil and natural gas”. They also take time. Ultimately plastics are manufactured & shipped (sometimes several times over) in the course of weeks or months, only to be used for mere moments and then discarded - often improperly.

The problem is serious, as according to research collected, there are five massive “islands” of plastic waste floating in our oceans. The one coagulating between California and Hawaii is the size of the state of Texas. This much plastic in our environment is literally clogging our waterways, messing with our hormones, and killing our wildlife; marine animals are routinely found with plastic in their stomachs (often the plastic micro-beads found in skin care products) or wrapped around their bodies. “Scientists predict,” the site states, “that if nothing changes in our plastic consumption habits, by 2050 there will be more plastic in our oceans than there are fish (by weight).”

Earth Day 2018 will focus on the many ways in which we can help to turn the tide of plastic pollution in a variety of ways; from efforts as simple as researching products and purchasing those without plastic packaging, to washing our micro-fiber clothing differently in order to prevent those microfibers from running down our washing-machine drains and into our waterways. Conscious consuming can have a massive impact when large groups of people change their purchasing habits - a core principle of Earth Day.

For those interested in taking other steps in environmental conservationism, there are countless options - many right here in Rapid City and the Black Hills. The 2018 Earth Day Expo here in Rapid City will focus both on the overall mission of Earth Day, and on an additional, second theme; Healthy Living through Quality, Locally Grown Foods, emphasizing our youth as the future of our community - and our world. This year’s Expo will highlight some of the many ways individuals, groups, and organizations can get involved in environmental change, including the annual City Wide Clean-Up week. A free, fun, family friendly event, this year’s festivities will include 10 featured speakers, 25 vendor booths, and a variety of craft classes, games, and events for the kids, raffle prizes, and more. Electric cars and bicycles will also be on display, and the whole thing starts with a March for Science planned for 8:30am from the SDSM&T parking lot to the outdoor stage of the 4-H Building at the Central States Fairgrounds.

Co-chaired by Rapid City Standing Committee on Sustainability and Dakota Rural Action, the event will also feature live music and entertainment by Mike LeMay, Henry Red Cloud, Jason Phillips and others, in addition to a drum circle performance.

Friday, April 20th, 2018 - Dark Sky Festival
Main Street Square Rapid City (corner of 5th and Main Streets)
7pm - 9pm
Event Page on Facebook: 3rd Annual Rapid City Dark Sky Festival

Sunday, April 22nd, 2018 - Earth Day Expo
Walter Taylor (4-H) building, 601 East Centre St. at the Central States Fairgrounds.
Science March from SDSM&T parking lot at 8:30am
Expo event 9am - 4pm
Find out more on Dakota Rural Action


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