Progression, Emergence, Park & Rec Involvement throughout 50 years of Earth Day

EARTH DAY 50! is Wednesday, April 22 

by Lauren Ansell 

Let’s keep working toward a green world!

Earth Day was originally instituted to encourage people to aid outdoor sustainability and take accountability for the effect that humans have on the World. Earth Day 2020 will celebrate its 50th anniversary in a new fashion; by fighting a global pandemic that has forced people to remain inside and ignore traveling and outdoor adventuring. 

The Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society (PRPS) has noticed people’s unlimited need for outdoor recreation and escape from their homes that now serve as their home, school, job and daycare facility. It is more important than ever that people have outdoor recreation to manage their pandemic stressors. 

PRPS canceled its 2020 PRPS-PAEE Conference & Expo and postponed the 2020 Therapeutic Recreation Institute in hopes to prevent coronavirus from spreading. These conferences provide educational sessions to recreation and park professionals to help them develop their community into a more environmentally conscious with modern methods and tools. 

It’s crucial to include educational sessions that encourage environmental care. The profit from the conferences also improves the environment as it pays for the speakers at the conference and for the administrators at PRPS who work tirelessly year-round to better our World. Both of these groups are strengthening our community’s effort in improving the Earth by spreading new ways and technologies to prevent hazardous waste and toxic build-up. Programs often teach about recycling, sustainable tools and methods for park maintenance and latest research that explains how emotional and physical health is positively altered when people spend time outside. 

Caring for our world can help our planet and your health. 

It is more important than ever to stick together as mankind and fight for our health and environmental wellbeing during this pandemic. Grocery stores, restaurants and parks have limited working hours or are closed now, but that doesn’t mean people can limit their mental or physical health needs. 

This is the first time that most of the World will celebrate Earth Day while fighting a viral outbreak. Although this is the 50th anniversary of the one day to specifically celebrate community recreation and environmentally-centered programming. In the past 50 years, we have seen emergence in environmental activism and vital importance surfacing toward greenhouse gas emissions through political campaigns and research facilities. 

PRPS has always focused on bringing people and nature together as close as possible. One of the many ways in the past 50 years is the Good For You, Good For All campaign. This campaign strives to connect citizens with outdoor recreation activities to increase their appreciation and active use of parks, forests and public spaces while imparting a message of environmental stewardship and healthy living. 

Get Outdoors PA, established in 2004, has offered thousands of recreation programs in Pennsylvania’s greenspaces in a sustainable and eco-friendly way. Programs that prioritize the environment throughout Pennsylvania benefit the community with local jobs and recreation activities that improve physical and mental health and lastly provide a preserved shelter for animals. 

As people refrain from leaving their houses they are also reducing the nitrogen dioxide air pollution levels. Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is emitted by burning fossil fuels typically through engines. We aren’t able to know for sure whether this will help air quality in the long run due to the lack of time and research able to be performed. 

The past 50 years have shown how much environmental progress we can achieve with events and programs, but we must continue to support these efforts by attending, creating and talking about new inventive ways to help our Earth.

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