2016 GRIC Earth Day
April 15, 2016
Darius Enos, GRIC DEQ
On April 22, 2016 the Community’s Department of Environmental Quality will take part in a global education event called Earth Day, which celebrates the planet and informs participants on how to lessen their impact on the environment. This year Earth Day turns 45 years old and is celebrated throughout the world’s seven continents. The day was initiated by U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson, who was part of many people at the time becoming conscious but he was one of few in power who pushed an environmental agenda that did not exist prior to his advocacy.
The modern environmental movement brought about this celebration known as Earth Day however it can be argued that environmental consciousness was always present in our tribal history and culture. In 1972 the first picture of the earth taken from space was published in the midst the growing modern environmental movement. When this picture was published, society at large finally understood how precious this planet was yet many tribes were passing stories down about how miraculous our existence on the planet is in accordance to their creation stories. Although she couldn’t go into full detail because of the season, orthographer Joyce Arlene Hughes briefly tells about how O’otham believe the earth was created out of a ball of dirt rolled off of “Earth Doctor’s” chest and thrown out into space. Here we have been in this area understanding that we are just a ball suspended in space and finally in 1972 the picture known as “Blue Marble” caught everyone up.
The material our ancestors used for daily life included all natural local material that had no long term effects on the plants or animals. Today this dynamic does not exist so as a department we are tasked with monitoring and regulating water, air, and land and educating the Community members on ways they can lessen their impact on the environment.
Furthermore, we are aiding in the creation of new wetland areas that bring back traditional vegetation lost through the damming of the Gila River. This gives an opportunity for members to harvest material used for medicinal purposes, baskets, or structures. Animals also benefit because more vegetation equals more areas to burrow or nest. The recycling program is another way to lessen long term effects on the environment since most material can be reused rather than being left in a landfill.
GRIC DEQ will utilize Earth Day to bring together programs and organizations that will educate Community members and employees on ways in which they can make a healthier and environmentally safe world. Please join us April 22 at the District 4 Ballpark from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.