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Natural Awakenings Northwest Florida

EARTH DAY 2015: Hope for Our Future

When we learn about the condition of our most valuable resource—this spinning planet we call home—we may feel a sense of urgency, desperation or even defeat. Global climate change is a powerful foe, and current efforts may seem like a losing race against time.

Yet, mounting evidence suggests that the global community is making progress, giving rise to the possibility that climate change may not be the insurmountable obstacle we once thought. The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) article, “We Can Do This: 10 Reasons there’s Hope for our Climate,” by Dan Upham, summarizes a speech given by EDF President Fred Krupp at the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival ( Here are some encouraging highlights.

The price of solar energy panels has dropped by 75 percent in the U.S. since 2008, and affordable wind energy is increasingly available. According to a study published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, carbon dioxide emissions from energy in this country dropped by 10 percent between 2005 and 2012. In addition, China, the world’s largest producer of greenhouse gases, is actively seeking ways to reduce emissions.

Proof of progress is also found in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan to cut billions of tons of pollution, a goal supported by two-thirds of Americans, according to a survey conducted by Harstad Strategic Research. Aligned with this, the government is requiring that manufacturers double automobile fuel mileage by 2025.

Perhaps the best argument for hope reflects the priorities of America’s younger generations. A recent bipartisan poll of young voters conducted by Benenson Strategy Group and GS Strategy Group suggests that 80 percent of voters under the age of 35 support the president taking action to address climate change, making it an issue that both major political parties must take seriously.

It’s time to realize that mankind is making decided progress, that the majority of us do care, that what local communities accomplish has a positive effect and that the global community can take the steps needed to avert catastrophic climate change.

Become a part of the solution by attending one or more of the community events listed here.

Bay County Earth Day

Creative individuals, families and local businesses in Bay County are coming together for the 11th annual Bay County Earth Day Festival, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., April 18, at McKenzie Park, in downtown Panama City.

Entertainment includes country, bluegrass, folk and singer/songwriters. An eclectic mix of environmental education, local green booths and wildlife conservation collectives comprise an Earth-minded affair, sponsored by the Friends of St. Andrew Bay and the Jelks Family Foundation.


For more information, call 850-258-1276 or email [email protected].

Okaloosa County Earth Day Beach Cleanup

People of all ages can participate in the annual Citizen Okaloosa Environmental Council Spring Earth Day Beach Cleanup, held from 8 to 10 a.m., April 25, at three locations. Volunteers should wear closed-toed shoes, gloves, caps and sunscreen.

Locations include Okaloosa Island: Beasley Park (Highway 98, East of Brooks Bridge); Beach Walk East of Surfdweller (Santa Rosa Boulevard); and Henderson Beach State Park (Highway 98. East of Destin).

The Environmental Council also maintains an Adopt-A-County Road and Adopt-A-Dune litter control program. Volunteer T-shirts are available free of charge while supplies last.


For more information, call 850-651-7131 or email [email protected].

Earth Day Pensacola Hits 40-Year Milestone

The 40th annual Earth Day Pensacola festival will be held April 18 at Bayview Park, creating a space where the people of Northwest Florida can get together to celebrate the Earth in a fun and family-friendly atmosphere. Participants include End of the Line Café, Ever’man Cooperative Grocery and Café, Escambia County Recycling Operations, Compass Solar Energy and others.

The festival includes live music entertainment, a sustainable art show, food vendors, an expanded children’s area and informational booths on sustainable living on the Gulf Coast. There will be stations for free recycling of old cell phones, mp3 players, automotive and marine batteries and other electronic devices.

Earth Day Pensacola calls upon to citizens to take a stand against climate change and global poverty and make 2015 the year when our leaders pass an historic, binding, global climate treaty.


For more information, call 850-549-7472, email Mary Gutierrez at [email protected] visit

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