Heights Earth Month events invite residents to take action
Throughout Earth Month, April 1–30, Heights organizations and individuals will offer a range of activities and events designed to inspire awareness, action, and advocacy for a healthier and greener Heights.
"We provided a platform for our community to take action, and the community responded in force," said Catalina Wagers, co-founder of the Cleveland Heights Green Team, which organized the month-long initiative. "We are incredibly pleased with the number and variety of events, providing everyone in the Heights with access to transformational action on behalf of our environment, our health, and the health of the community at large".
Events include a Bike Rally for World Health Day hosted by Bike Cleveland; neighborhood, green space, and community garden cleanups; nature walks; sustainability forums; the Heights Sustainability Fair, Cleveland Heights Earth Day 5K run; a Heights Libraries book discussion; and free trees for all University Heights and Cleveland Heights residents who would like to have one or more planted in their yards.
The complete list and schedule of events, and participating organizations, can be found at https://www.chgreenteam.org/earth-month-in-the-heights/events-calendar.
The bike rally will take place on April 7, at Boulevard Elementary School, and will include bike safety lessons, bike ride lessons for children, a mobile bike repair shop, and a community bike ride.
Those interested in exploring the intersectionality of environmental justice and social justice are invited to read A Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism and its Assault on the American Mind, by Harriet A. Washington, and participate in a discussion about the book on April 21 at the Lee Road Library.
For a more hands-on project, on April 24 volunteers will remove refuse and leaf clutter from storm drains along streets in University Heights, and pick up general refuse to help increase awareness of protecting Lake Erie and keeping our streets clean. “The environmental act of one person can make a difference in our world,” said University Heights resident Elizabeth Englehart. “Just thinking about our individual actions, and considering their environmental impact, has the power to heal this planet. CH Green Team and Earth Month gives us the chance to implement these pursuits with joy and determination.”
On April 23, Heights Libraries will host the Heights Sustainability Fair at Coventry PEACE Park, to provide a space where residents can engage in the creative process of designing a green future. Isabelle Rew, Heights Libraries’ community engagement associate, explained, "At Heights Libraries, we strive to create opportunities for community dialogue, especially around issues like this that impact all of us. We hope the fair will be a chance for members of our community to come together, learn from local sustainability experts, and begin to create a shared vision for a greener Heights.”
For Ben Sperry and Keith Mills of Fairmount Presbyterian Church, participation in Earth Month in the Heights supports their “Earth Care Pledge,” which calls for accomplishing a specific number of actions toward caring for God’s earth. “Our faith urges us to strive for eco-justice: defending and healing creation while working to assure justice for all of creation and the human beings who live in it,” Sperry explained. The church will host several events, including an open house on April 30, and a volunteer clean-up effort.
“What we love about Earth Month is that it brings together local groups and organizations, whose commitment to a more sustainable and healthier way of life in our communities is so valuable but, in some cases, not well recognized,” noted Wagers. “It brings their work into the spotlight and offers residents the opportunity to participate. This is how healthy communities are built.”
Natalie Elwell is director of gender equity practice at World Resources Institute in Washington, D.C. She lives in Cleveland Heights, and is co-founder of the Cleveland Heights Green Team.