Celebration marks becoming a different world

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As time advances, Powell River is becoming better grounded in supporting and implementing the aims of what has grown from Earth Day to Earth Month.

During a ceremony at Powell River City Hall, Friday, April 22, a flag was hoisted and acknowledgments given to celebrate local initiatives in conservation and being good to Mother Earth.

In a ceremony on the lawn near the entrance to Powell River City Hall, Mayor Dave Formosa said on behalf of city council, himself and the citizens of Powell River, he wanted to wish everyone a great Earth Day.

“I’ve enjoyed my seven and a half years of service to this city and during this last term I’ve said a few times it feels like I’m at a Sierra Club meeting, not a council meeting,” Formosa said, alluding to the strong environmental support among current city councillors.

 

Left: Tying off the green flag on the left atop the City Hall flagpole, is Powell River Mayor Dave Formosa, one of several speakers at the event to highlight initiatives being undertaken for Earth’s preservation.

“I have to say it’s a tribute. If we think back 20 or 30 years on environmentalism, there was no industry around the environment like there is today. It’s now a huge industry.”

Formosa said in years gone by, if he wanted to build or buy a gas station, “you just did it.”
“Today, there are a lot of rules and regulations, and an economy that has come out of it. Things have to be tested. You have to make sure what you are doing doesn’t harm your neighbour, yourself or your community.”

Formosa said in the past, when working in the forest, equipment operators with their logging trucks or dump trucks would change motor oil in the wilderness. The philosophy was the oil had come from the ground and it was going back to the ground. It has been an educational process to reverse this trend but it is working.

While he has heard people with a strong environmental focus say Earth Day is a sad day, Formosa said he thinks it’s a great day because of the changes in the ways people are thinking and responding. Formosa said he is now actively recycling and his kids do it automatically. He now turns off the water in the sink while he’s brushing his teeth to conserve water.

“Times are changing,” Formosa said. “The industrial revolution is over. I think we have to acknowledge the past and move forward into the future.

“Just keep passing the message along. I get it, although perhaps not as deeply as some others. I’m looking for a balance and I wouldn’t be integrating the environment in my life as much if it were not for you folks. Happy Earth Day.”

Janet Southcott, member of the Earth Month Powell River team and emcee of the flag raising event, said what is known today as Earth Month began in the early 1970s as Earth Day.

“April 22 was designated by the United Nations as the day to be mindful of our impact on Mother Earth,” Southcott said. “Recently, I have spoken to two people who remembered that very first Earth Day and the confusion over what to do and how to celebrate it.”

“Today holds great international significance, as the mayor was saying, because more than 160 countries have signed the Paris agreement (for climate change), pledging to put a lid on global warming.”

Southcott, quoting the United Nations climate chief who led the negotiations, said we are already moving from impossible to unstoppable on climate action. She added that there have been a number of events in Powell River built around Earth Month that lead to greater awareness about sustainability, plus employing trends that will be beneficial to everyone’s earth home.

“The community has embraced Earth Month and for that I and the Earth Month team are very grateful,” Southcott said. “We can make change happen and we can adapt.”

Dr. Elsie Paul from the Tla’amin Nation opened the event with a prayer and said it was a pleasure to be at the ceremony to show appreciation for where we are in this beautiful country. “We should be thankful for where we live,” she said.

Info and Pic Cred: Powell River City Hall – http://www.powellriver.ca.

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