Be sure to see the Earth Month Action List below!

By Kermit Hovey

As we hop into spring, we have the chance to spring into action, action on behalf of the Earth. We of course can do so in the spirit of Earth Day with its deep Wisconsin roots in founder Sen. Gaylord Nelson, a seminal environmental leader. He recognized back in 1970 the importance of education and conversation to inspire informed action on pressing ecological concerns.

In that way, he foreshadowed and anticipated a related call to action by climate scientist and advocate Katharine Hayhoe. While many environmental issues warrant continued action, education, and conversation, Dr. Hayhoe focuses attention on the especially challenging climate change crisis. She invites us all to do the most important thing we possibly can to address climate change — talk about it.

Appropriate to Earth Day, Nelson’s original founding vision for it, and Hayhoe’s contemporary exhortation to talk about the climate crisis, an abundance of activities have sprouted up in the “Earth Month” of April. They provide opportunities to inform one’s conversation with education about the challenges we must confront, the injustices we must address, and the solutions we can embrace.

First, though, take about three minutes to hear Sen. Gaylord Nelson speaking about his broad vision for environmental action back in 1970, before the first Earth Day. He said, “Our goal is an environment of decency, quality and mutual respect for all human beings and all other living creatures. Our goal is a decent environment in its broadest and deepest sense” — words that still ring true.

Then listen to Dr. Hayhoe explain in her TED talk how the most important thing you can do to fight climate change is talk about it. As she notes, “We can’t give in to despair. We have to go out and look for the hope we need to inspire us to act — and that hope begins with a conversation, today.”

And while conversation is critical, education is essential. Use your favorite search engine to look for events about the environment, environmental and climate justice, or climate action. Participating in inspiring and informative Earth Month events can jumpstart or encourage your journey (see some listed below). Or pick up a book (e.g. Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing In a Divided World by Katharine Hayhoe), visit a website (e.g., 350 Madison!), and/or read an article about the climate crisis.

And then talk about climate change as you prepare to do more. It’s really happening, really human-caused, really serious, and we can still really do something about it. Learn more, say more, act more. As the sayings go, knowledge is power and with knowledge comes responsibility.

2022 Earth Month Action List

April 2–May 2: 17th Wisconsin Green Ramadan Campaign

By Wisconsin Green Muslims — details here.

April 11–May 1: Free Screening of YOUTH v GOV

A powerful film that follows 21 young Americans suing the world’s most powerful government to protect their constitutional rights to a stable climate. Sponsored by Wisconsin Interfaith Power & Light. Free showings end May 1. View the trailer and register here for your congregation or group by April 15. Background: Our Children’s Trust.

April 15, 11:59pm: Deadline to Submit Comments to the DNR on Enbridge’s Line 5 Pipeline

Share a few sentences with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources telling them why they should #RejectLine5. Concerns include treaty rights, threats to water, impacts on wildlife and wetlands, and contributions to climate change. Submit your comments here. This action page explains the issues to help you incorporate facts with your take on what’s wrong with enabling the export of tar sands oil to foreign markets in the age of climate chaos.

April 15, 2:00–4:00pm: “Seeding Solar”

First monthly program in the 7-month Couillard Solar Series at Couillard Solar Foundation, 10 Liberty St., Deerfield, WI. Learn more about growing food for our communities, teaching our kids about gardening, and how solar and native plants can work together. This is a family-friendly event with a seed-filled egg hunt for the kids.

April 16, 8:00pm: Katherine Hayhoe, “Faith and Hope as the Climate Changes”

Register for online viewing here.

April 21: Earth Day 2022: Water on the Rise

Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. Register for online viewing here.

April 22 & 23: Earth Day Joyful Rebellion!

Join 350 Madison on Friday, April 22, and Saturday, April 23, for some joyfully rebellious actions celebrating Earth Day.

On Friday, April 22, 350 Madison and a number of campus environmental groups will gather on the UW Library Mall at 5:00pm. The festivities will include a jubilant parade up State Street to the Capitol.

On Saturday, April 23, join 350 Madison at the Dane County Farmers’ Market on the Capitol Square around 10:00am. Invite your friends and family — the more the merrier!

Email if you can come. That will ensure you’ll be kept in the loop!

April 23, 10:00am–2:00pm: Earth Day Every Day: EV Car & Sustainability Show

Middleton Community Church, 645 Schewe Rd, Middleton, WI (off Old Sauk Rd.). Details here. To show your vehicle, register here.

April 23–24: Third Earth Day Celebration

Activities and exhibits designed to demonstrate how individuals and families can take steps to reduce their carbon footprint and conserve natural resources. St. Dennis Catholic Parish, 413 Dempsey Rd. (on Madison’s east side), in the church fellowship area after the 4:00pm Mass on Saturday, April 23, and from approximately 8:15am until 12:30pm on Sunday, April 24.

An earlier version of this post appeared in the Middleton Times Tribune.