Earth Day remains popular—and necessary. While global carbon dioxide emissions fell 17% during the first twelve months of COVID-19 because people were staying home, it has already returned to pre-pandemic levels. Scientists continue to warn that the world is at “a dangerous crossroads” in its attempts to reduce pollution in the atmosphere.
Dudley wasn’t the only South County town tackling Earth Day. A cleanup was held the same day in Webster, which prompted town officials to thank Pratt Trucking Little River Recycling for the dumpsters they provided, the Webster Police Department for its involvement, and the Girl Scouts and Middle School students for their participation.
Keirsten Doud, Skylar Finlay and Marlee Donohoe had three bags full of trash as they worked a rural road in Dudley, where the Earth Day cleanup is in its twelfth year.
In Auburn, town officials put out the word early, on April 1, messaging that while a wholesale community-wide effort would be difficult, individual residents and business could emulate the organization “Keep Massachusetts Beautiful” by undertaking litter prevention, waste reduction, recycling, community greening and environmental education.
Charlton’s Earth Day cleanup was also held on April 24 with the Charlton Fire Department “out and about” to lend a hand and a hearty thank you issued on Facebook afterwards.
As for the town of Dudley, it provides encouragement and support to its helpers to generate enthusiasm, Ms. Cournoyer said.
“This year we have little seedlings we are giving out to people and if you do something you can plant a tree for someone. We have Girl Scout troops taking part. Year after year the same ones show up, and new people too.”
This year, the town introduced “Dudley the Dumpster Dog” as a way to inject some lightheartedness to the proceedings. “This is Dudley the Dumpster Dog’s debut,” Ms. Cournoyer said.
“We are also running a raffle. We are just trying to encourage people to give back to the community.”
By Rod Lee
In Cambridge on the campus of MIT on the morning of April 24, the Doomsday Clock was set as it has been for a while at 100 seconds to midnight as a reflection of the planet’s dire environmental state.
But in Dudley that same Saturday, with the scent of magnolia in the air and the sight of tulips and daffodils and forsythia in bloom on W. Main St. and all around town, volunteers taking part in an Earth Day cleanup had reason for hope about the future of the planet.
Earth Day—officially April 22—is in its 51st year. It has grown and now involves one billion people in one-hundredininety-three countries across the globe.
“This is our twelfth year,” Jen Cournoyer said, of Dudley’s Earth Day cleanup. Ms. Cournoyer is the chair of Dudley’s Board of Health. She was supervising the community-wide effort from a table set up at the Highway Garage on Indian Road.
When a visitor mentioned that there didn’t seem to be much happening by way of motorists driving in to latch onto materials they needed for the four-hour initiative, she said “oh we had inquiries for two weeks prior, people coming into the office and picking up bags. We get a grant every year from The Last Green Valley for our Earth Day, for trash bags, gloves, water bottles, snacks, hand sanitizer, grabbers and pickers. We are very thankful for them. They are our co-sponsor.
“We have a lot of specific streets that need attention. We’ve got volunteers all over town. Those nip bottles!”