Earth Day: It's Every Day in Tuscaloosa

Ricky the Raccoon, the City’s recycling program mascot, raises awareness for the Tuscaloosa recycling program. Ricky the Raccoon, the City’s recycling program mascot, raises awareness for the Tuscaloosa recycling program. City of Tuscaloosa

Earth Day celebrates its 47th year in 2017. Beginning in 1970, Earth Day has the credit for kickstarting the modern environmental movement.

“Earth Day is important because it is a certain day set aside to remind us of how important our environment is and why it needs to be taken care of,” said Neal Hargle, Tuscaloosa County Extension Agent. “If we are not reminded how important it is, we may misuse or abuse our environment and lose some of our precious resources that we cannot get back for others to enjoy.” 

More than 20 million Americans rallied coast-to-coast for healthy sustainable environments on April 20, 1970. Today, the Earth is still suffering from deforestation, pollution and more. In Tuscaloosa, environmental concerns aren’t just reserved for Earth Day.

“In Tuscaloosa, we are fortunate to have environmental education programs and events that happen year-round,” said Ashley Chambers , the City of Tuscaloosa’s environmental educator. “So whether it’s a beautification event, like community garden or tree planting, or an environmental event, like recycling programs and litter cleanups, the City participates and hosts these events year round, not just for Earth Day.”

The warm weather and blooming trees are the perfect scenery for appreciating all the Earth Day events around town. Public tours of public services, such as the City’s recycling plant or water treatment plant, can always be scheduled for free. Tuscaloosa schools will also benefit from environmental awareness, Chambers said.  

“This spring, the City of Tuscaloosa is bringing hands-on environmental education to the classrooms that can last between 90 minutes to 4 hours,” Chambers said. “The City’s environmental educator, along with the Water Department, Engineering Department and Environmental Services Department have teamed up to show all Tuscaloosa students the importance of taking care of their city.” 

The City of Tuscaloosa has year-round programs that educate citizens, from solid waste management, to lake and river environmental health, to waste water treatment. There are also strategies people can take at home to maintain their environmental sustainability.

“Whether it’s knowing what items are recyclable vs. garbage – or knowing not to put oil and grease down the drain at home, there are so many processes and people who help keep our city clean and healthy,” Chambers said. “Think about it: where does your garbage go after you put it in the garbage cart on the curb? What happens to our recyclables when we put them in the blue bin? What happens to the water that goes down our drains and toilets at home? There’s an entire work force of men and women who keep our community safe and clean – and there are ways that we, as citizens, can do our part to improve our environment at home, at work, and at school.”

Everyone wants to be proud of the place they call home, so making sure to take pride within your community is key, Chambers said. A beautification or environmental event can be the difference in your environmental sustainability.

“Environmental sustainability means ‘making as little negative impact as possible,’” Chambers said. “In other words, ‘waste less’ and make sure that your day-to-day activities do not harm the environment or infrastructure. Small decisions like conserving electricity and water ultimately lead to positive results for your household/business. Recycling is the easiest way to start thinking sustainably. The phrase I always use during the tours is: ‘Think Before You Toss.’”

Environmental sustainability is also important for the generations to come, said Hargle.

“Environmental sustainability allows us to use the resources in our environment according to our needs, but keeps them strong for future generations to enjoy and share as well,” he said. 

For more information on how to get involved with the City of Tuscaloosa’s environmental events, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call (205)-248-4900. 

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Tori Linville

A graduate of The University of Alabama, Tori is a professional in the publishing industry and brings strong writing and editing skills while contributing creative ideas, contemporary concepts, and editorial experience to her varied projects.


Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.