Earth Day: Reflecting and Moving Forward
First celebrated on April 22, 1970, Earth Day was the idea of Senator Gaylord Nelson as a “national teach-in on the environment” to raise the public’s awareness about environmental issues. An estimated 20 million people participated in this new “holiday” to rally for a new, healthier environment. Although Earth Day is a global celebration, it means much more locally. At RCA and RCTC, Earth Day is a day of reflection and advocacy.
The RCA has made a commitment to conserve 500,000 acres of land for 146 native animal and plant species as part of the MSHCP, one of the largest conservation plans in the nation. Our small corner of the world is teeming with biodiversity, so protecting species and habitats from extinction is essential for our communities. Through the MSHCP, which is rooted in the Endangered Species Act of 1973, western Riverside County is fulfilling its conservation obligations to our communities and the law while also allowing for streamlined infrastructure development such as transit and roadway projects.
As the Endangered Species Act turns 50 this year, we are making strides to ensure our state and federal partners meet their obligation to help us acquire the remaining land for the 500,000-acre reserve.
In addition to conserving land for future generations, RCA is also educating our residents about the MSHCP and local habitats. Our Species Spotlight series features animals and plants that we protect through careful and deliberate land acquisition and management. The RCA participates in local events to bring awareness about the plants and animals that live in our natural environment. Our staff will be at these upcoming events:
- Soboba Tribal Earth Day 2023, Thursday, April 20, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Calimesa Earth Day, Saturday, April 22, from 8 a.m. to noon
RCTC, the RCA managing agency, has also played a enormous role in helping the Earth by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In 2022, the IE Commuter and VanClub programs reduced 55,650 single occupancy trips through the ridesharing program, removing more than 7.2 million pounds of vehicle emissions. By offering incentives to commuters to carpool, take transit, and walk to work, RCTC is helping reduce our local carbon footprint and traffic congestion. For more information about the rideshare program, visit IECommuter.org.
RCTC also is a proud member agency of Metrolink. This Southern California commuter rail system runs low-emissions locomotives. It allocates funding for multiple bus systems, including RTA, SunLine, Corona Cruiser, Beaumont Transit, Banning Connect, and specialized transit providers.
Raising awareness about environmental issues and making serious change is a collective effort. RCA and RCTC are proud to help do our part.