Earth Day is increasingly competing with Valentine's Day

Earth Day (commemorated annually on April 22) is an opportunity for people to celebrate the environment and make progress toward a cleaner climate. But many also celebrate this event as the day they found true love. Combining love of the Earth and love of others is a beautiful way to honor the incredible planet we all live on.

Some couples have even decided to get married on April 22, incorporating greener wedding decorations and climate action initiatives into their ceremonies.

Two marine conservationists, Enie and Marc Hensel, got married on Earth Day in 2017 in St. Augustine, Florida, according to Good Morning America. Because they are located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, their home is very susceptible to the effects of climate change and plastic pollution.

“We chose this landscape and this day to share our love and respect for nature with our close friends and family,” said Enie Hensel.

The Hensels have local produce, stainless steel straws, recycling bins and minimal plastic at their ceremony. Plastics are found in the water we drink and the food we eat. Studies have even shown a higher percentage of microplastics in the air we breathe indoors than in the air outside, according to the Babies vs. Plastics from EARTHDAY.ORG.

“Our dependence on plastics could be the biggest healthcare gamble in human history. We all ingest and inhale microplastics,” said Kathleen Rogers, president of EARTHDAY.ORG.

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To make a sustainable, waste- and plastic-free contribution to their special day, the Hensels also waded into their local marshes to collect the perfect floral arrangements of solawood flowers, which grow in very dry areas.

They even used a washed up fishing net as decoration, repurposing waste lost at sea and making it a beautiful accessory for their decor. The couple also incorporated climate education into their celebration, displaying signs listing 10 things people could do to be more environmentally friendly. For example, avoid plastic bags at the grocery store.

Effective waste management, recycling and monitoring are essential to the downstream process, but without targeted action upstream, plastics and microplastics will continue to flood our environment, our homes and our bodies, according to the Babies vs. Plastics report. Plastics from EARTHDAY.ORG.

“Nature provides us with food, water, medicine, purifies our air and water, protects us from storms, etc. Earth Day gives us a great opportunity to step back and appreciate how unique this planet is, how precious it is to humans. , and how important it is that we protect it,” said Enie Hensel.

Mike Weilbacher is the executive director of the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education in Philadelphia, the region's largest and oldest nature center, according to its website. He met his wife while planning the 1990 Earth Day extravaganza in Philadelphia, when his parade reached its outdoor stage, and the rest, as they say, is history. Today, this event is the longest running Earth Day event in Philadelphia. After 1990, 20 years after the first Earth Day, the celebration spread globally, where more than 100 million people in 100 countries came together to defend the environment and raise awareness about climate change.

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Another better-known couple didn't get married on Earth Day, but began their journey together celebrating the environment. In 1990, Teresa Heinz met Senator John Kerry at an Earth Day rally, sparking a love that lasts to this day. It was the only time the two met before her first husband, Senator Heinz, died in a plane crash the following spring. In 1992, Teresa Heinz met Kerry again, this time they were both delegates to the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Three years later, the couple married in Nantucket. In January 2021, Kerry was sworn in as the first special presidential envoy for climate and the first director to serve on the National Security Council dedicated entirely to climate change, now taken over by John Podesta.

In this role, Kerry was responsible for leading U.S. diplomacy to address the climate crisis by increasing global climate ambitions. His team is focused on improving adaptation and resilience to climate impacts, boosting clean energy innovation and competitiveness abroad, among other initiatives to better integrate climate defense in international maritime and aviation activities, according to the U.S. Department of State website.

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Overall, a shared love for the environment has the power to bring people together for life and empower them to help save the Earth together. It is important to remember that we are all sensitive to plastic pollution and climate change, and that the best day to fight this scourge is to work together, as one unit, sharing our love for the planet and people who inhabit it.

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