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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Earth Day 2015: Hope for Our Future

Apr 01, 2015 06:37AM ● By Julianne Hale

When we learn about the condition of our most valuable resource—this spinning planet we call home—we may feel a sense of urgency, desperation or even defeat. Global climate change is a powerful foe, and current efforts may seem like a losing race against time.

Yet, mounting evidence suggests that the global community is making progress, giving rise to the possibility that climate change may not be the insurmountable obstacle we once thought. A Environmental Defense Fund article, “We Can Do This: 10 Reasons there’s Hope for our Climate,” by Dan Upham, summarizes a speech given by EDF President Fred Krupp at the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival ( Here are some encouraging highlights.

The price of solar energy panels has dropped by 75 percent in the U.S. since 2008, and affordable wind energy is increasingly available. According to a study published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, carbon dioxide emissions from energy in this country dropped by 10 percent between 2005 and 2012. In addition, China, the world’s largest producer of greenhouse gases, is actively seeking ways to reduce emissions.

Proof of progress is also found in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan to cut billions of tons of pollution, a goal supported by two-thirds of Americans, according to a survey conducted by Harstad Strategic Research. Aligned with this, the government is requiring that manufacturers double car gas mileage by 2025.

Perhaps the best argument for hope reflects the priorities of America’s younger generations. A recent bipartisan poll of young voters conducted by Benenson Strategy Group and GS Strategy Group suggests that 80 percent of voters under the age of 35 support the president in taking action to address climate change, making it an issue that both major political parties must take seriously.

It’s time to realize that mankind is making decided progress, that the majority of us do care, that what local communities accomplish has a positive effect and that the global community can take the steps needed to avert catastrophic climate change.

Become a part of the solution by attending one or more of the community events listed here.

The Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens – Party for the Planet
9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, April 4

Party for the Planet, the national Association of Zoo and Aquariums (AZA) annual Earth Day event, is one of the largest Earth Day celebrations on record. Enjoy a variety of family-friendly conservation fun at the Naples Zoo.

The Conservation Station has information about organizations that protect the Naples environment. This celebration includes Zoo Town for Kidz, with fun games and arts and crafts made from recycled materials. Nature’s Mall features green-friendly businesses.

Location: 1590 Goodlette Rd., Naples. For more information, call the Info ZooLine at 239-262-5409 or visit

Earth Day Program Birdhouse Project
9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Saturday, April 18

Celebrate Earth Day by painting birdhouses at the park. Participants will have the opportunity to find a spot at the park to hang their masterpiece. Additional birdhouses may be donated to the park.

Cost: $5 includes the cost of a small birdhouse and painting materials. Parking fee required. Location: Main entrance of Caloosahatchee Regional Park, 18500 N. River Rd., Alva. For more information, call 239-822-5212. To register, call 239-533-7440 or visit

Lee County GAC Earth Day Trash Bash
9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, April 18

Sponsored by Keep Lee County Beautiful, this 26th annual countywide cleanup and beautification campaign—the nation’s largest organized event of its kind—is part of the nationwide Great American Cleanup effort, sponsored by Keep America Beautiful.

Location: Check-in and collection sites are located throughout the county. For a site list and more information, call 239-334-3488 or visit

Earth Day at the Refuge
J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge
10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, April 18

Meet and greet Bagzilla, a refuge educator dressed in a year’s worth of an average person’s disposable bag consumption. This celebration includes free, family fun activities; plein air artists’ works on display; narrated refuge tram tours and nature hikes; a marine debris timeline contest for kids; family storytime presentations on sea turtles and manatees. Wildlife Drive is free and open to bikers and hikers only. Free bikes are provided by Tarpon Bay Explorers (must be picked up at their location).

Location: 1 Wildlife Dr., Sanibel Island. For more information, call 239-472-1100, ext. 236 or visit

Conservancy of Southwest Florida Earth Day Festival
10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, April 18

This celebration includes electric boat tours along the gordon river; educational programs for kids and adults; expert lectures, live animal programs and exhibitors; arts and crafts, face painting and hands-on habitat experiences; live music, locally made crafts and festival food; and free T-shirts to the first 50 guests.

Cost: free for members, $10 adults, $5 children 3 to 12. Location: 1495 Smith Preserve Way, off Goodlette Rd., Naples. For more information, call 239-430-2466 or visit

Movie in the Park and Earth Day Event in Bonita Springs
5 p.m., Saturday, April 18

This celebration includes a free showing of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, beginning after dark. Earth Day for kids activities including free face painting, a movie-themed game, Dr. Seuss photo booth area and more. Popcorn, ice cream and drinks will be available for purchase from Royal Scoop. Bring low-back chairs or blankets to sit on and sweaters or blankets if it gets chilly.

Location: Riverside Park, 10450 Reynolds St. on Old U.S. 41. For more information, call City Hall at 239-949-6262 or visit

Earth Day Guided Nature Walk at Caloosahatchee Regional Park
9 to 11 a.m., Tuesday, April 21

In honor and celebration of Earth Day, park staff will lead a one-and-a-half mile guided walk at the park to explore and learn about native plant communities, flowering plants and natural history of Southwest Florida. Dress appropriately and bring a water bottle.

Cost: Free with paid parking. Children 18 and under must be accompanied by an adult. Location: Main entrance of Caloosahatchee Regional Park, 18500 N. River Rd., Alva. Limit of 25 participants. Registration is not required. Groups of five or more call ahead. For more information, call 239-822-5212 or visit

Celebrate Earth Day at Naples Botanical Garden
9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday, April 22
Free tours begin at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Unearthed: Dinosaurs in the Garden, will be on exhibit until July 5.
Cost: Free for members, $14.95 adults, $9.95 children 4 to 14. Location: 4820 Bayshore Dr., Naples. For more information, call 239-643-7275 or visit

Goodwill Industries Earth Day Re-Use and Recycle Roundup
9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday, April 22

Donated clothing, electronics, shoes, books, household items and cell phones go to Goodwill Industries. Free shredding for residents and businesses is offered by Goodwill Secure Shred. Rid medicine cabinets and homes of unused, unnecessary or expired medicines with safe disposal by Drug Free Collier’s Operation Medicine Cabinet and bring hazardous household chemicals, rechargeable batteries, paints, used motor oil and fluorescent bulbs for collection by Collier County Solid Waste Management.

Location: Goodwill Towne Centre parking lot, 3759 Tamiami Tr. E., Naples. For more information, call 239-995-2106 or 239-252-5354.

Pre-Hurricane Season Household Hazardous Waste Roundup
8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, April 25

Collier County Solid and Hazardous Waste Management will host a free pharmaceutical take-back by Drug Free Collier’s Operation Medicine Cabinet; free tire recycling; auto and home products and devices for recycling; free paper shredding by Adera On-Site Security Shredding; and clothing, shoes and books collected by Goodwill Industries for resale.

Five Collier County Recycling drop-off locations: University of Florida IFAS Extension Office, 14700 Immokalee Rd., Naples; Hazardous Materials Collection Center’s Collier County Landfill, 3720 White Lake Blvd., Naples; 2640 Corporate Flight Dr., Naples; 9950 Goodlette Rd. N., Naples; and 990 Chalmer Dr., Marco Island. For more information, call 239-252-7575.

Earth Day Celebration
9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Saturday, April 25

Learn, discover and participate in Earth care in Collier County. Donations will be accepted to purchase native shrubs to plant in Collier County. Visitors will enjoy a drum parade at 9:15 a.m.; 30 arts and crafts, environmental and horticultural vendors; a tree sale, healing circle and kids’ activities; our separate showings of 20-minute Symphony of the Soil movie series
• Participate in creation of Navaho bamboo loom during the day
• Drum circle from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Cost: Free. Location: 8200 Immokalee Rd., North Naples. For more information, call 239-269-7341 or email [email protected].

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