Celebrating Earth Day in Pittsburgh

Earth Day isn’t until Monday, but there are plenty of ways to celebrate the holiday this weekend in the city.

Larry Richert and John Shumway
April 19, 2019 - 9:45 am

David McNew / Stringer / Getty Images North America

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PITTSBURGH, Pa. (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) – Earth Day isn’t until Monday, but there are plenty of ways to celebrate the holiday this weekend in the city. Earth Day is an annual event celebrated on April 22nd and was first celebrated in 1970.  

“It was really, I think, a response of the public community’s activism to some of the big environmental challenges of the day,” Western Regional Director of Pennsylvania Resources Council (PRC) Justin Stockdale told KDKA Radio. “This was the era where the Clean Water Act was signed and the Clean Air Act was signed. It was a transitional moment that we started to think about the environment ahead of other issues.”

Stockdale said that Earth Day became more of a prominent issue in Pittsburgh in the 1980s and early 1990s with the fall of the steel mills and the intent to clean up the city afterward. “As the mills closed, we lost that industry and it presented an opportunity for Pittsburgh to reinvent itself in a different way that maybe had some focus on the environment first,” Stockdale said.

“There’s a whole bunch of events going on around the city. PRC is involved with one of those events at the Children’s Museum on Saturday, April 20th. We’re hosting a combined event with FutureFest and ReuseFest,” Stockdale said. “ReuseFest is PRC’s big collection event for reusable goods. Everything from household goods, clothing, dishes, sheets, towels, onto crutches, furniture, building materials. We bring a whole host of non-profits together to collect those items for folks so people can access all of those great resources at one time rather than driving all over town to get there.”

Stockdale has also noticed an increase in volunteer participation in young people. “It’s not just in the environmental sector. We don’t want to go to a booth and hear about something, we want to actually participate. Folks are organizing birthday parties around illegal dump site cleanups because folks don’t want to just go out and have a party, they want to actually be productive and support their community directly and physically. We see the shift absolutely happening in Pittsburgh and across the country.”

Ashley Funyak contributed to this article.

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