A rally for environmental justice and green jobs was held on Earth Day in south Minneapolis in 2021. Credit: Jaida Grey Eagle | Sahan Journal

Saturday, April 22, marks the 53rd celebration of Earth Day. Millions of people celebrate Earth Day across the globe each year with tree plantings, litter cleanups, and protests against fossil fuel extraction. 

In Minnesota, Earth Day coincides nicely with us emerging from our winter hibernations. The snow melts away, often revealing a wasteland of litter. Cities and neighborhoods throughout the state host cleanup events each Earth Day, where residents don rubber gloves and pick up trash strewn throughout the streets. It’s a great way to meet your neighbors and improve your community, and one of my favorite days of the year.  

Earth Day started in the United States in 1970, where by the late 1960s mass pollution of air and water was undeniable. Environmental groups, farmers, and students organized against the Vietnam War rallied together and 20 million people joined protests against pollution nationwide. The movement is credited with helping create the Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Air Act. The celebration officially went global in 1990, and is credited with spurring an increase in recycling across the world.

Want to get involved this Earth Day? Here are some events happening throughout the state: 

  • The Minneapolis Park Board hosts cleanup events across the city from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Find a site near your neighborhood here, gloves and bags are provided for all volunteers. There is also an Earth Day 5K and Mississippi River Cleanup at Boom Island Park. 
  • St. Paul hosts city wide cleanup events from 9 to 11:30 a.m. The city partners with groups like Wakan Tipi Awanyankapi, Frogtown Green, and the West Side Community Organization for cleanups across town. Find your location here
  • Also in St. Paul, the Payne-Phalen Community Council will host a celebration “Earth Day in 6 Languages”, featuring free food, an Evie Carshare demonstration, games, and discussions about environmental justice in six languages commonly spoken in the area: American Sign Language,English, Hmong, Karen, Spanish, and Somali. 
  • Roseville has its annual Earth Day celebration at Harriet Nature Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event includes group litter pickup, live music, and environmentally themed arts and crafts for children. 
  • Eden Prairie is hosting its second annual Eden Prairie Eco Expo at the mall with pollinator seeds, recycling tips, and a raffle for environmentally friendly projects. 
  • St. Cloud is holding its annual Earth Day Run and celebration in downtown starting at 8:30 a.m. There are races from a 1 kilometer kids run  to a half marathon along the Mississippi River. In the evening there will be a block party downtown. 
  • In Duluth, there will be a community cleanup in Lincoln Park and a sustainability celebration called Duluth EcoFest from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Clyde Iron Works. EcoFrest includes vendors demonstrating sustainable living programs and information on ways to save money on energy bills. 
  • The Mall of America and electronics recycler Repowered are teaming up for two Earth Day events. Repowered will offer free electronics recycling drop-off at the mall’s east parking lot  from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m, sign up for a drop-off time here.  At 1 p.m. in the north atrium, Repowered will host its Robot Fashion show, where contestants compete with robots made from recycled electronics.

Andrew Hazzard is a reporter with Sahan Journal who focuses on climate change and environmental justice issues. After starting his career in daily newspapers in Mississippi and North Dakota, Andrew returned...