Earth Day celebration to be held Saturday


By Pauline Benetti | Southwest Organization for Sustainability

Earth Day 2023 in Pagosa Springs will take place along the Riverwalk in Centennial Park, between the two foot bridges with an entrance at the Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership (GGP) site, this Saturday, April 22. 

The day is dedicated in memory of Puja Parsons and Phyl Daleske, both planet warriors, each one in her own unique way. 

 Perhaps Parsons’ most public contribution to sustainability lies in her role of bringing growing domes to the world — those iconic geodesic structures so shaped to promote vegetative growth year-round even in our cold clime. On a personal level, her appreciation of the Earth’s natural beauty emanated through many personal expressions, and the home she maintained celebrated sustainability. 

Daleske was active in her appreciation of Earth’s blessings. Many years ago, she was part of the impetus for the formation of the San Juan Outdoor Club, and being active with the club took her out hiking and skiing, which she loved, and working for the preservation of the outdoors. Back home, she was active with the Southwest Organization for Sustainability (SOS) and the activities it promoted — Earth Day and the Pagosa Farmers Market. Her favorite T-shirt read, “Live Simply that others may Simply Live.”

Anyone wonder why we celebrate Earth Day? It is amazing given the gravity of the consequences that we need to be reminded, but we do. Business as usual is too easily and comfortably slipped into. There is no Planet B, at least, not in the short run and not without a lot of science. And in the meantime, life on Planet A is becoming increasingly problematic. Thus, we celebrate Earth Day as a yearly (at least) reminder that change is critical both in our individual and collective acts.

This year will be the 53rd celebration of Earth Day since its beginning in 1970 with a demonstration by 20 million Americans that resulted in the passing of legislation in the following years. The Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, Endangered Species Acts and the National Environmental Education Act all came out of this effort. 

Today, ironically, much of this is in danger of revocation and the argument over the human causes of a warming climate has created great division. In 1990, Earth Day went global, with 200 million people in 141 countries participating. Today, more than 1 billion people from 192 countries participate, including a fresh and angry generation of young people who demand progress and use digital and social media to press for change. The need has never been greater especially in our own country, once the world leader in protecting the planet’s natural resources. Visit for more details. 

Now about the programming for our Earth Day. This day’s theme is “** GROW ** Soil — Gardens — Peace — Community.” The day will begin with an opening community sound bath meditation at 9:45 a.m. offered by a wellness instructor and will close with an homage to our planet. There will be Americana music emanating from the GGP amphitheater by the New Fangled in the morning with an open mic starting shortly after 1 p.m. to which an invitation goes out right now to all the hidden talent in our community. Show up with your instrument, whether it be voice or guitar, etc. 

 At 11 a.m., catch the Pagosa Wetland Partners’ tour of the wetlands. At noon, a community tea ceremony is planned in which all are invited to a warm cup of tea and a community-supporting experience. Given April’s weather, this may be the most appreciated experience of the day. Tea will be followed by a pottery-making lesson with a tea cup as the expected outcome for use in subsequent tea ceremonies. 

At noon, the Kid’s Chalk Art Contest will begin. Registration is at the SOS booth, where chalk supplies will be available or kids can bring their own. There will be prizes all around.

Meanwhile, scattered throughout the day will be myriad displays by local organizations, each doing its own thing toward a better future, also a chalk art contest for the kids, tomato starts and dried herbal giveaways, yoga practice, making seed balls in the Native Plant Garden, an electric vehicle for examination and more.

Add to the above attractions the coming together of an amazing number of organizations and individuals in a show of solidarity and support for the tremendous task before us. Come see how these Earth Day participants each in their own way participate in the solution: Archuleta Democrats, Archuleta County Master Gardeners, Audubon Rockies, Daughters of the American Revolution, electric vehicles, the GGP, Habitat for Humanity, Healthy Archuleta, Heart of a Building, Hour Exchange Time Bank, Pagosa Farmers Market, Pagosa Springs Community Garden, Pagosa Springs Visitor Center, Pagosa Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Pagosa Wetland Partners, the San Juan Water Conservancy District, Pagosa Senior Center, SOS, Spiritual Experiences Group of Pagosa Springs, San Juan Stargazers, town and county Big Spring Cleanup, Tracks Across Borders Scenic Byway and Weminuche Audubon. A number of our local businesses will also be present.

Once again, we extend a warm invite to any nonprofit organization, agency, organization, business, etc. that believes it has a stake in the outcome to participate in our celebration of planet Earth, our home. Participate with a booth or table and a giveaway of some type appropriate to the celebration. Contact us at or call (970) 264-5232. 

In closing, dwell for a moment on this piece composed upon viewing the Earth from space: “From the moon, Earth is so small and so fragile, and such a precious little spot in that universe, that you can block it out with your thumb. Then you realize that on that spot, that little blue and white thing, is everything that means anything to you — all of history and music and poetry and art and death and birth and love, tears, joy, games, all of it right there on that little spot that you can cover with your thumb. And you realize from that perspective that you’ve changed forever, that there is something new there, that the relationship is no longer what it was.” — Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart, 1963.