The event is sponsored in part by Waste Management, US Bank, McCarty Holsaple McCarty, First Neighborhoods Realty, Fox & Fogarty, East Tennessee Community Design Center, and KBrew.
Her lecture was only one of many Earth Day activities to be found in town on April 22, 1970, Neely said.
There was a cleanup effort targeting Third Creek as well as “bus tours of Knoxville’s ugliest sections, a not-so-subtle satire of the Dogwood Art Festival’s most popular feature, called Deadwood Trails,” said Neely.
Jacobs, who died in 2006 at the age of 89, was the author of “The Death and Life of Great American Cities.” She’s also been the subject of a major biography and several documentaries, notably 2016’s “Citizen Jane: Battle for the City,” in which she was voiced by Marisa Tomei.
“That was quite a surprise that turned up in research,” Neely explained. “I’d known and respected the work of Jane Jacobs for 25 years before I knew she ever set foot in Tennessee, much less that she was the featured speaker at Knoxville’s first Earth Day.”
While this year’s Earth Day celebrations are comparatively low key, there are a handful of events in Knoxville for those who wish to celebrate the holiday.
For instance, the good folks over at Keep Knoxville Beautiful (KKB) are inviting volunteers to take part in their seventh annual South Knoxville Community Cleanup, which will begin 9 a.m. Saturday at Mary Vestal Park, 522 Maryville Pike.
“We will be removing litter from South Knoxville roads, creeks and parks,” according to its website. “Participants of any age are welcome! We look forward to seeing those who live, work or play in South Knoxville — as well as anyone who wants to lend a helping hand.”
KKB will provide equipment to volunteers such as litter pickers, gloves, safety vests and trash bags. Volunteers are strongly urged to wear long pants and must wear closed-toe shoes. They are also asked to bring sunscreen, bug protection and drinks. You can register to help at South Knoxville Community Cleanup.
Habitat for Humanity will celebrate Earth Day at its ReStore, 1511 Downtown West Boulevard.
The popular nonprofit thrift store will be hosting a number of vendors and information booths promoting a slew of environmental initiatives, including Help You Dwell, Knox County Master Gardeners, Master Repurposers and the Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley.
Shoppers will be able to spin a prize wheel to win coupons, free merchandise and entries into drawings for valuable gift cards from area merchants.
Also, from 10 a.m. to noon, you can bring your personal papers and sensitive documents to be disposed of by a mobile shredding truck provided by ShredPro Secure.
Donations from individuals and businesses to the ReStore give reusable items and materials a second life and reduce waste in landfills.
Sometimes the best way to celebrate Earth is to be reminded of our place in the cosmos, and what better way to do that than with an evening spent stargazing with the kind folks from the University of Tennessee’s Department of Physics?
From 8 p.m. to midnight Saturday you can take in the night sky while learning about the new James Webb Space Telescope at the Marble Springs historic site, 1220 West Governor John Sevier Highway.
The evening’s first lecture/Q&A session, slated for 8:30 p.m., will be aimed at younger visitors and physics students. The second, which starts at 9:30, is aimed at middle and high school students and will focus on new images from the James Webb telescope. The final lecture for adults and college students will begin at 11 p.m.
“This event coincides with the peak of the annual Lyrids Meteor Shower … so, bring your favorite lawn chair, a quilt or even your own telescope as we celebrate our place on this little blueberry we call home,” according to event organizers.
The event is free, but those interested in attending are asked to register.
In Oak Ridge, site of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a global leader in biological and environmental research, the Department of Energy has laid out a website chock full of ways DOE has joined the battle for a healthy environment and against climate change.
Even if you can’t attend these events, virtually or personally, there are many ways to lean into the annual observance of what keeps us alive. Clean a local creek. Pick up trash on your street. Load up your garden with native species. Learn and lean into it.