Local View Column: Earth Day? Let's make this Earth Week


The 50th anniversary of Earth Day is Wednesday. It marks an awareness of the growing threats to the livability of our planet — and what future world our children and grandchildren will inherit.

The first Earth Day in 1970 brought 20 million Americans out to rallies and marches, motivating Congress and President Richard Nixon to create the Environmental Protection Agency and to pass the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act — all of which are currently under threat of regulatory rollbacks.

As we all are so acutely aware, the COVID-19 pandemic has overshadowed and disrupted our lives, indefinitely postponing all close-quarter gatherings and celebrations.

In the spirit of empowering us all to make a positive difference where we can, let’s convert Earth Day into Earth Week. From April 19 through the 26th, we with Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light ask our fellow citizens to choose a time to participate in Duluth's version of the Great Global Clean-Up, an effort of Choose either your neighborhood or one of the favorite sites you cherish in and around Duluth for a socially distant and responsible walk and trash pick-up. Wear green and/or blue to celebrate the coming of spring and the waters of Lake Superior. Then register your actions at

By extending this commemoration over a week, we should be able to spread out participation to make social distancing more easily achievable.


Let's honor our small piece of the planet and give ourselves some extra relief from being so hunkered down indoors. We hope to see you — from a distance — during Earth Week!

Bret Pence of Duluth is the greater Minnesota director of Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light (


Due to the coronavirus and the need to shelter in place, Earth Day events this year are being held virtually or independently. Here are some online resources for getting involved.


** Support Duluth Youth Climate Strike leaders, their events, and other events at


** Participate locally in the Great Global Cleanup at

** The movie “The Human Element” is available for viewing all week at; register first at


** Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light ( is planning a livestream event 1-3 p.m. Wednesday. Northland faith leaders are invited to register and participate at

** A Climate Generation livestream featuring Minnesota youth climate leaders is 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday at

** Other ways to get involved in Minnesota can be found at



** The official site of Earth Day,, will livestream events all day Wednesday

** is also organizing the Great Global Cleanup at

** Faith in Action Week also has ways to get involved at

** Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg is helping lead youth actions at

Bret Pence.jpg
Bret Pence

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