The 50th anniversary of Earth Day takes place on April 22 this year. On that day in 1970 over 20 million people joined together to advocate for a clean environment and demand that politicians pass laws to protect the air we breathe and the water we drink.
South Jersey Water Savers aims to mark the occasion by helping to install 50 new rain gardens this year. South Jersey Water Savers is a partnership of the American Littoral Society and eight other organizations, under the umbrella of the William Penn Foundation's Delaware River Watershed Initiative. The effort’s goal is protect the Kirkwood-Cohansey Aquifer – South Jersey’s primary source of water.
The result was the passage of key amendments to the Clean Air Act in 1970, the passage of the Federal Clean Water Act in 1972, and the passage of the Endangered Species Act in 1973. These laws became the foundation for restoring and protecting the environment in the US.
The Clean Water Act called for the waters of United States to be fishable and swimmable by mid-1983 and for zero discharge of pollutants into our waterways by 1985. Fifty years after the passage of the Clean Water Act, we are still struggling to accomplish these goals.
Over the last 50 years we have worked hard to force the federal, state, and local governments to enforce these laws to prevent industry and developers from overstepping their bounds. While we have made progress, it is still not enough.
Today, we have another big problem to address — climate change. Once again, we look to our government to enact laws to tackle this cataclysmic problem.
Scientists say we need to transition to renewable energy and focus on energy conservation and integrate climate resiliency into everything we build. This will require a massive movement and new laws.
But Earth Day 2020 is not just about lobbying our elected leaders to take action, it is also about taking personal action. We each need to do our part. Some actions can be simple, like planting a tree, ending use of plastic bags and straws, and adjusting thermostats to more moderate heating or cooling levels. Others come with great expense, such as buying an electric car, installing solar panels on our homes, and weather proofing our houses.
We know that the world is at a standstill given the current pandemic. However, we’d like to encourage people to take a moment to step back and see what changes they can make, big or small.
One promising option is to build a rain garden, a landscaped feature that is designed to capture, treat, and infiltrate stormwater runoff. Properly designed rain gardens are climate resilient and can help stop localized flooding. They are also an excuse to get outside during a time when many of us are feeling cooped up.
We are offering rain garden workshops throughout the area as part of the South Jersey Landscape Makeover Program. Join us for one and learn how to build a rain garden.
Currently, we have adjusted these workshops to an online platform to follow social distancing guidelines. As part of this program, we are providing an opportunity to work with an engineer and a landscape architect to design a rain garden specifically for your home. You might even be eligible for a $450 rebate.
Our goal for this year at South Jersey Water Savers is to build 50 rain gardens in honor of the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day! Go to the SJ Landscape Makeover Web Page for more information.
Now, more than ever, the planet needs your help. If we work together, we can make a difference.
~ Find the original blog post and other information at the South Jersey Water Savers website
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