Let’s Celebrate Earth Day with Collective Action Together

Every April we celebrate Earth Day. It is important to recognize why Earth Day is so important and what we as a community must do to improve our environment which in turn could help overcome the environmental injustice issues that we continually face.

What is the significance of Earth Day?  Earth day is a celebration that started in April of 1970.  Its origins stemmed from the many years that Americans produced an unchecked amount of toxic gas from factories and cars when “Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of the consequences from either the law or bad press.”

Kimberly Neely du Buclet  
Commissioner  
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District

Earth Day is about spreading awareness and advocating for environmental protections.  Prior to Earth Day, there was little press about the dangers to our health and well being of the toxins being put into the environment.

Earth Day is vitally important because it raises awareness on the dire need for climate protection and the overwhelming dangers of climate change.  Studies show that those most in need of environmental protection are communities of color, specifically in Chicago.  These often-overlooked communities in Chicago and other major cities face higher instances of environmental injustices.

“In Chicago, Black and Latino residents are more likely to live close to industrial pollution and have chronic health conditions, such as asthma,” according to the Chicago Department of Public Health.

Unfortunately, the problem is not limited to just air pollution, “Illinois has as many as 1.4 million lead service lines, more than any other state in the nation.” We can see that in communities of color as well as other underserved neighborhoods, there is a discernible discrepancy in air quality, clean water, and other environmental factors.

This Earth Day you should consider what we can all do for these communities we call home.  My goal as a Commissioner is to spread awareness on these and other issues regarding climate change during Earth Day.  You too can support environmental advocacy efforts by attending an Earth Day event in your community. It is critical that we all play a role to inspire our family, friends and neighbors to focus on and address the challenges our communities face on Earth Day and Everyday throughout the year.

Kimberly Neely du Buclet  

Commissioner  

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District  

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