Chemists Celebrate Earth Day in Central Ohio

Chemists Celebrate Earth Day Logo

Earth Day began in 1970, the brain child of Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. Nelson realized that the energy of the 1960s could be harnessed to protect the Earth. On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans joined in a massive effort to educate the public about the environmental issues of the day. Today Earth Day is celebrated internationally.

Chemists were active participants from the beginning, working to create cleaner-burning fuels, sulfate-free detergents, recyclable plastics, and more. ACS officially joined Earth Day celebrations in 2003 and established Chemists Celebrate Earth Day (CCED). The society encourages local sections, student member chapters, and divisions to take part in local activities. The Department of Volunteer Support and the Committee on Community Activities combined efforts to produce Celebrating Chemistry: Chemists Celebrate Earth Day April 22, a booklet that can be used with younger students in schools and at Earth Day Celebrations.

This year’s ACS theme is “Energy—It’s Everywhere”; and the Columbus, OH, local section took that message to Central Ohio. On Earth Day, April 22, the section was a “Day Sponsor” on radio station WCBE, advertising Chemists Celebrate Earth Day; and on Saturday, they sponsored a booth at the Green Columbus celebration. (ACS members and students from the Columbus area organized a variety of eye-catching displays and hands-on activities to demonstrate several energy sources. Harnessing wind, solar, water, hydrogen, and even lemon power, volunteers showed off a speeding race car, a soaring airplane, and a leaping frog (in miniature of course), entertained attendees with a music box, light up LEDs, and kept track of time with a lemon-powered clock. The section also collected Pennies for PUR, handing out copies of the CCED booklet, and introducing thousands of attendees to the marvels of chemistry in our world.

Participating in Green Columbus each year takes a lot of energy and commitment; the celebration opens at 11 am and closes at 10 pm. Weeks of planning are needed to plan activities, collect materials, and organize volunteers. ACS Local Sections across the country have made similar commitments to Earth Day 2011 and IYC 2011. Well done, all of you!