Credit: (istock.com)

Phyllis Wilcox |

The beginning of the environmental movement  in the late 1960s created awareness around environmental issues and eventually resulted in legislation  seeking to reverse its worst effects.

Earth Day, first celebrated April 22, 1970 and commemorated worldwide, is the day set aside to reflect on the ways we, as humans, impact the environments we inhabit.  From clean water to soil preservation, communities everywhere celebrate the day by participating in activities intended to make the environment more sustainable, while also working to slow climate change and its devastating consequences. Wherever you live, activities took place near you on Earth Day, Friday, April 22. 

The Inland Empire celebrates

Metrolink offered free rides to passengers on Earth Day.  “When we all do a little, we can all gain a lot,” the organization states on its website. (source: metrolinktrains.com)

This year, Earth Day activities in the inland region included Metrolink offering free rides to passengers. On its website the organization stated, “When we all do a little, we can all gain a lot.” It further declared, “ Metrolink is committed to improving the environment in Southern California and the health of the communities we serve.”

In San Bernardino, the county museum, in conjunction with the Inland Empire City Nature Challenge, offered a virtual event which  allowed participants to interactively  explore the biodiversity in their neighborhoods by uploading pictures of the environment to the website and by using the lesson plans and activities found here. The virtual event runs through May 9.

The City of Riverside celebrates “Earth Month” complete with a month-long slate of activities for families.  This year’s focus is on soil conservation as an important ingredient for healthy ecosystems.  

The city posted an informative video about soil and how it is  the foundation and backbone of sustainable food, water, and air. The video highlights how soil is a living system that hosts a quarter of our planet’s biodiversity and plays many critical roles in our ecosystem. It also highlights how composting can help restore it.

The City of Moreno Valley Parks & Community Services and Library Departments hosted a  free tree sapling giveaway event for families, courtesy of the Neighborhood Forest program. During the event, attendees also had an opportunity to get additional information on local and county environmental programs and there were table games and youth crafts for the children. 

Soil is the foundation and backbone of sustainable food, water, and air. Soil is a living system that hosts a quarter of our planet’s biodiversity and plays many critical roles in our ecosystem.  (source: riversideca.gov).

For those who missed Friday’s Earth Day celebrations, the University of California Riverside is hosting a geological Expo on Thursday, April 26,  at the Orange Terrace library.

Meanwhile, the Center for Community Action (CCAEJ), a local nonprofit “bringing communities together to find opportunities for cooperation, agreement and problem solving in improving their social and natural environment,” held a five kilometer run. The IE Voice spoke with Elizabeth Cena, one of the organization’s administrative assistants at CCJAE about its Earth Day focus and the 5K run. 

“We are prioritizing sustainability encompassing the importance of agricultural farm land,” Cena began. “Recently, the City of Ontario approved the development of a warehouse to overtake agricultural farmland, specifically, Amy’s Farm.”

 “Our organization frowns upon that,” she stated. “In fact, we took legal action and filed a lawsuit against the City of Ontario for such approval.”

This Earth Day CCAEJ prioritized sustainability encompassing the importance of agricultural farmland according to the organization’s administrative assistant, Elizabeth Cena. (source: twitter.com).

For Earth Day, CCAEJ hosted a 5K-Color Run that began at its office in Jurupa Valley at 10:00 a.m. on Friday. The organization invited members of the community– of all ages–to participate. “It’s physical [but] you don’t have to run, you can walk 5K. It ‘s for a good cause.” Cena placed a priority on socializing this Earth Day.  “[Due to COVID-19], we’ve gone two years without being able to do that . . . building that human connection.”

Those who participated in the run wore white t-shirts and as they passed through each marker…they were splashed with color, so by the end of the run, participants’ shirts were quite colorful.  The 5K was also a fundraiser for the organization. CCAEJ sold tickets and accepted other contributions. 

Commenting on the earth’s resources being limited and the impacts of industrialization, Cena commented on how difficult it is to push back against decisions like the one in Ontario to repurpose agricultural farmland for warehouse development. “It’s important to preserve [farmland],” she stressed.

Amy’s Farm in Ontario sits on a 10-acre property and is focused on sustainable fruits and vegetables. (source: moval.gov/parks-comm-svc).

Like CCAEJ, Amy’s Farm in Ontario is also concerned about the city’s warehouse expansions. The nonprofit farm sits on a 10-acre property and according to a recent report by ABC7 is focused on sustainable fruits and vegetables. 

Insert image 4 hereAccording to Cena, Amy’s Farm offers guided tours where you can even milk a cow if that is something you would like to try. “They encourage children to taste and smell herbs from the garden,” said Cena.  “They are also free “to pet goats, horses and a big, giant cow. It’s an educational tour for children but adults can go too and learn.”