Hinsdale Academy students celebrate Earth Day
The fresh scent of blooming flowers, budding trees and singing birds inspires a renewed sense of dedication to the planet. The Bible reminds us in Psalm 96:4‒5 that: In His hands are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to Him. The sea is His, for He made it, and His hands formed the dry land. Adventist communities within the Lake Union have embraced this season of resurrection bliss by utilizing Earth Day to educate students and their local community about God’s call for Christians to serve as good stewards of the planet.
Several schools used this an opportunity for students to recognize that the Earth is a gift of love given to us by the Creator of the Universe. At Chicago Seventh-day Adventist Christian School, students dispersed into the community picking up trash. William Lee, senior pastor of Shiloh Church, which is located next to the school, explained, “The Creation narrative in Genesis 1 reminds us that God called us to be stewards over His creation. We need to take care of the only home God has given us.” He further said, “Whether in the church or school we teach that we should be mindful not to be wasteful, to use energy, water, and other resources efficiently. We must preserve the beauty of God’s Earth while we await the New Heaven and Earth.
Patrice R. Jenkins, vice principal of Hinsdale Adventist Academy, and her fourth-graders spent the day thanking God for allowing them to do their part to take care of the earth. Afterwards, they decorated their classroom door with recycled newspaper and read a book entitled, Just A Dream, which gave students a glimpse of what the planet would look like if they didn’t care. Students then devised a plan as to how they could make a difference in their local community. Jenkins said, “Earth Day is a time to demonstrate to my students how important our planet is and how God made the earth for us to cherish, not just on Earth Day but every day.”
The Hinsdale students then put into action what they had learned by donning gloves and collecting trash around the school campus. Amazed by how much they had accomplished, fourth-grader Emilio Villeo said, “God gave us this earth to take care of and He expects us to do our best!”
In Michigan, Kalamazoo Junior Academy, celebrated Earth Day by pulling weeds and picking up trash around the school and church grounds. Together, the students contributed a personalized craft which was merged together to create a mural that hangs in the hallway of their school.
Principal and Upper Grades Teacher of Kalamazoo Junior Academy, Karon Davis, added, “This is a good day to help others and serve people. Our goal was to show students that, when we work together, we can accomplish so much more.”
Rodlie Ortiz, evangelism and small groups pastor of Pioneer Memorial Church in Berrien Springs, urged Adventists to care for their planet. “We are living in an era where people care about the earth. This is what is on their radar. Society cares, and we should, too! When the Adventist Church doesn’t speak on these things, it seems like we are not relevant and not thinking about the issues that the community is concerned about.”
Ortiz, also a member of the Berrien Rotary Club, a civic organization that includes some of Berrien’s top leaders, led out in an activity to clean up a highway they’ve adopted known as Red Bud Trail. Meeting for breakfast and orientation at Nikki’s Café, Ortiz, along with members from his Rotary Club, geared up for the day’s work.
The idea for a national day to focus on the environment came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, Calif.
An annual event, Earth Day is celebrated on April 22, on which day events worldwide are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. First recognized in 1970 and now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network, it is celebrated in more than 193 countries each year.