Valley residents celebrate Earth Day

Karrigan Monk
Black Mountain News

A group of Swannanoa Valley residents gathered April 22 to celebrate and teach other residents about Earth Day at the Lake Tomahawk Park pavilion.

Sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Climate Conversation group, the Earth Day event featured information from various climate-oriented groups around the Valley, giveaways of seeds and household goods as well as featured music.

Barbara Rogers, who is part of the Climate Conversation group, said they work to “feel like (they) have a handle” on environmental concerns, including climate change.

Rogers is also a member of the Swannanoa Watershed Action Network, or SWAN, a group that works to create a “safe and equitable” space in the Valley in terms of ecological footprint.

More:SWAN works to preserve the watershed

SWAN took part in the Earth Day event by giving out information about the work they do and conversations they have.

Rogers said it is important to understand that people who live in different places have different social and needs and therefore may “care about the planet a little differently,” which is something SWAN tries to take into consideration.

She also said that SWAN relies heavily on the Doughnut Economics model. Rogers said the inside of the doughnut is societal needs while the outside is the Earth’s ecological needs. She said the idea behind Doughnut Economics is to balance these two needs.

Rogers said she remembers the very first Earth Day and remembers when young people would get together each year to celebrate the day. She said she has seen fewer people caring about Earth Day as time went on, and she hopes the Earth Day event at Lake Tomahawk will inspire others.

Swannanoa Valley residents gathered April 22 at Lake Tomahawk Park's pavilion to celebrate and teach other residents about Earth Day.

“This is a great opportunity to say, ‘Hey, this is really how we’re going to connect with the climate change to bring Earth Day up and do things about it,’” Rogers said.

SWAN member Robertson Work said he hoped the day would be about love.

“I think it’s about love,” Work said. “It’s about falling in love with nature, and I’m hoping today will be a big love fest.”

Another group represented at the event was the Creation Care Alliance, which member Connie Burns said “is an organization of congregations and faith-based people looking at environmental concerns.”

Burns said she specifically focuses on eco-grief circles, an online group of people that participates in seven week cycles to talk about and process the state of the planet.

“It’s really important to me because I found that when I don’t have a place to grieve, I start feeling really shut down and not feeling very open to life an getting into a lot of despair,” Burns said. “Processing that really helps me stay active, alive, hopeful.”

Burns said these groups and Earth Day in general is important to her because it keeps her connected with the planet.

“Earth Day is important to me because it feels like we have so lost touch with the sacred nature of nature,” Burns said. “Earth Day is at least one way to remind everybody and kind of help us come together and apricate and acknowledge and feel gratitude for his amazing, wonderful planet we live on.”