Earth Day comes to the Kenai

A combination of forces have come together to organize events for this year’s Earth Day at the end of the week.

Celebrated nationally this Friday, Earth Day will be a chance for central Kenai Peninsula residents to partake in activities and discussions centered on conservation and other “earthy” topics.

The push to celebrate Earth Day in some way came from several places, including Kenai Change, said Kenai Peninsula College Showcase Coordinator Dave Atcheson. Together with the Kenaitze Indian Tribe and Kenai Change, the KPC Showcase is putting on a showing of the film “Merchants of Doubt,” a 2014 documentary which takes a look at the practice of using scientists to cast doubt over issues like tobacco use and climate change.

“I had seen the movie and I suggested it,” Atcheson said. “And there were several folks who had read the book who hadn’t seen the movie.”

The film is open to the public and will play at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the college, and is sponsored by the League of Women Voters, Atcheson said. Before the film, Earth Day enthusiasts can participate in a discussion on the 2010 book of the same name, at 4 p.m. Wednesday in the community building behind the “Where It’s At” food bus in Soldotna.

Where It’s At, located at 44718 Sterling Highway, will host a slew of other activities throughout the day on Earth Day, from “Yoga in the Yard” at 1:30 p.m. to a drum circle in the evening. The public can take part in guided meditation at 2:40 p.m., followed by community discussions at 3 p.m. covering topics like local foods and diverting waste.

Atcheson said that while Alaskans tend to appreciate the environment around them, paying attention to negative impacts to that environment around them is important.

“I think people in Alaska have an appreciation for nature and the outdoors, or (they) wouldn’t live here,” he said, explaining that he hopes reminders like Earth Day can help residents of the state learn to be more conscious of the changing environment.

He cited warming streams, issues with Alaska’s fisheries and ocean acidification as things that ought not to be ignored.

“Those are real concerns we have to take into account,” Atcheson said.

A community potluck will take place at 6 p.m. Friday at Where It’s At, while live music will play from 4-8 p.m. Groups and booths, including ReGroup, will be there with information as well.

Elsewhere, an Earth Day concert called Pale Blue Dot will be performed by the Kenai Peninsula Singers at 7 p.m. Friday at Kenai Central High School. Tickets are $10 for everyone age 18 and older, and will be sold at the door.

“I think every day should be Earth Day, really,” Atcheson said, explaining that consciousness of the state of the environment is vital if it is going to be preserved for people who appreciate the outdoors as much as Alaskans in the future.

Reach Megan Pacer at megan.pacer@peninsulaclarion.com.

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