Earth Day Omaha: Celebrating going green in Elmwood Park


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Jared Kennedy

The green movement was in full swing this weekend in Elmwood Park, where Earth Day Omaha held its 27th annual celebration. Earth Day Omaha is the single largest environmental event in Omaha and quite possibly one of the longest running Earth Day festivals in the country.

Several food trucks were present, with decently-priced local offerings from PB Johnny’s, among others. I picked up a classic peanut butter and jelly from Johnny’s on my way into Elmwood and I must say I was completely underwhelmed. I probably could have made the same sandwich at home.

The celebration had an incredibly free vibe to it. Folks danced around near the stage as great local bands rocked out. DJEM closed out the day with didgeridoos, tasty bass licks and
that classic jam band feel everyone craves.

As I wandered through the crowded but comfortable festivities, I noticed individuals showing love and happiness to each other. Conversations of sustainability, reducing consumption and alternative transportation could be heard all around.

The concentration of white people with dreadlocks at this event was a sight that would turn some off, but there seemed to be no judgmental attitude about the potential cultural appropriation by white people with dread locks on this day.

Several affluent individuals in the Nebraska green movement spoke on stage about being an active voter, and standing up for environmental issues one ballot at a time. While this was a fun event, all seemed very specifically interested in promoting the social activism of being green-conscious.

Illicit drug use seemed to be somewhat present. Walking through the crowd, one could catch the occasional whiff of marijuana. No one seemed particularly concerned.

Some gentleman had set up their slackline between a couple trees. They offered people a chance to walk on the line. For those who have never heard of the sport, the slackline is like a ratchet strap. It is tied to two trees and walked on like a tight rope, except there is much more give and sway on a slackline. Small children and adults alike joined in on the fun. The gentleman who brought their slackline, and subsequently offered the use of it to the general public, did so very much in the spirit of the whole festival.

Earth Day Omaha was definitely a place where sharing love and reciprocity were shared virtues among those present.