Monday, April 21, 2008

Earth Day Celebrations at Dallas

Yesterday was Earth Day in America, a day when people remembered the importance of Mother Earth and talked about the importance of conserving the environment, saving the earth etc etc. When anything happens in Texas, it is always in Texas Size, likewise the Earth Day celebrations were also in equal proporation. Only in Dallas city area there were seven events conducted parallely and this was pegged as the biggest celebration in the US.

We got an invite from a India-oriented non-profit VT SEVA based in Dallas area for the Earth Day celebrations at the Lake Cliff Park in Oak Cliff, Dallas. Always to be part of any Eco-friendly event we went to take a look. Well, it was truly a multi-cultural, multi-faceted and colourful event and well worth visiting. According to the organisers 120 Plus businesses/ non-profits had put up their stalls. Most of them were from environment-friendly and green organisations trying to make people aware of how they can inculcate eco-friendly habits in various aspects of life. Water conservation, green electricity, organic T-shirts, jewellery, recycled picture frames, trekking, mountain biking etc were all being promoted.

The part I liked about the event was the showcasing of several myriad forms of music and dance at the venue. Two stages set up at the venue and parallel dance and music performances carried on throughout the day. Performances ranged from African Mambo Dance to choir singing and from Sanskrit Shloka recitation to Cheerleading. The performances were unique, elegant and very appealing. It is interesting to note that so many cultures exist oblivious of each other and when they come together it feels so beautiful and good. Problem starts when one starts saying we are superior than others. This kind of attitude hurts people and leads to a clash of civilisations.

Let me say something about the venue, the Lake Cliff Park. This park is one of the premier green spaces in South Dallas area. Nearly 70 percent of the park comprises of a large lake and rest of it is either sprawling manicured lawns, rolling woods with neat and clean walking and cycling trails. The park also has a dedicated chidren's play area, amphitheatre, several gazebos and restrooms.

Family that has shunned cars
I met Kenny and his cute daughters at the venue. Kenny is an ardent eco-advocate and loves cycling. He has a road bike and a mountain bike and both of them have a pannier/ side car to carry his little daughters. He stopped driving two years ago and he commutes "Solely by bicycle". I am impressed by Kenny's dedication and willingness to give up comforts of driving in a country where cars keep getting bigger and muscular. I am glad I met someone who shares my thought line, I am now more eagerly looking for a bike on Craigslist so I can join this small minority of cyclists who are pushing pedals for environment.

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