Earth Day celebrations were kicked off in Connecticut this year with the presentation of the Gandhi Peace Award to Bill McKibben, a founder of the grassroots climate campaign 350.org, which has coordinated 15,000 rallies in 189 countries since 2009. The award, presented by Promoting Enduring Peace at the Unitarian Society of New Haven, brought together peace and environmental activists to address climate change and conversion to a peace time economy.
Environmentalists in Connecticut are also joining with unions and immigrant rights organizations. The CT Roundtable on Climate and Jobs attracted over 80 people last month to a forum on renewable energy and jobs. In June, the coalition of unions, faith based and environmental groups will host a forum on the natural gas expansion plans that are a part of Connecticut's Comprehensive Energy Strategy.
In Naugatuck environmentalists are joining with the immigrant community. The Naugatuck Cultural Council Earth Day celebration on April 22 at Town Hall, 10:30 am, honors Science Teacher Tony Memoli as Earth Day Mayor of the Day for helping save land behind Naugatuck High School, advising the Ecology Club and teaching Environmental Science.
Then, at the Gunntown Passive Park & Nature Preserve Carlos Nunes tells his story of migrating to the U.S. from Brazil. Previous Telling Our Stories events included Jamaican, Mexican and Asian participants. The event, followed by a nature walk, is sponsored by the Naugatuck Cultural Council, the CCEC- Gunntown, and the Town Recreation Department.
In New Haven,1,000 bicyclists highlight the fifth annual East Rock to West Rock ride through the neighborhoods of the city on April 20, including music in the parks and environmental service projects. Registration fees support Common Ground High School, Urban Resources Initiative, New Haven - Leon Sister City Project, CitySeed and the Parks Department.
Hartford's "Riverfront Earth Day" at Mortensen Plaza on Sunday, April 21 is sponsored by the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network and the Office for Catholic Social Justice Ministry from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm with exhibits, permormers and remarks by environmental justice advocate Dr. Mark Mitchell.
As awareness of climate change grows, so does the interconnection between the environmental movement and labor, immigrant and faith based organizing.