2023 Earth Day march advocates action for a cleaner future

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) – Ohio University community members marched through campus to celebrate Earth Day and bring attention to timely environmental issues last week.

Janalee Stock and Dawn Harmon marched to spread awareness about the damage of single-use plastic bags. Stock said future generations deserve a whole lot better.

“Earth Day started 50 years ago at least,” Stock said. “…we’ve dealt with a number of things that have been detrimental to the earth, but we haven’t dealt with plastics and the industry.”

Stock and Harmon held their “Athens Rethinks Plastics” sign as they marched through campus and uptown.

“Reusable bags are the future,” Stock said. “…we can’t keep using single-use plastic bags. They are polluting the earth. They are breaking down into little, tiny pieces, air, water, soil, our food, our blood. They’re everywhere, and our future generations deserve a whole lot better.”

Dominic Straquadine expressed the same message by marching in a costume made entirely of plastic bags.

“So, when I’m wearing this monster of bags, I look at this as an opportunity to let people know that there are alternatives,” Straquadine said. “…and that there are ways to reduce our plastic use while there are new innovative ways to make plastic less damaging.”

Straquadine emphasized the impact of the parade. He said they are a small yet mighty group, but the costumes they wear and the noise they make brings messaging to the forefront of people’s minds.

An image taken during Ohio University's Earth Day March on April 21, 2023. The picture depicts a group of people gathered outside of Ohio University's Baker Center holding signs about environmental issues.
A scene from the Earth Day march on Ohio University’s campus April 21, 2023. [Payton Szymczak I WOUB]
“This is a wonderful metaphor that lets people know that there are consequences to our actions that we just often take for granted,” Straquadine said, pointing to his costume. “…and it’s a result of what we happen to live with.”

Marchers drew attention to the importance of spreading awareness towards protecting the environment and fighting climate issues for not only their generations, but future generations. Kate Harmon, the Events Coordinator for the Ohio University Office of Sustainability, said the parade itself highlighted just that.

“Anyone can get involved,” Harmon said. “There are multiple generations in the parade.”

The Office of Sustainability works year-round to benefit people and the planet. Sam Crowl, the Associate Director of Sustainability, said the people involved with sustainability and environmental issues think about the earth everyday, but not everybody does.

“With climate change and pollution and a lot of very unfortunate things that have been happening in our world, it’s pretty easy to get dragged down and to be really fearful about what’s happening,” Crowl said.

The Office of Sustainability is continuing Earth Day celebrations today. Crowl said these events are about being hopeful and as positive as possible about the future.

“It’s really just a chance for people to come together, to learn from one another, to get excited about all the things that are happening in our community,” Crowl said. “…and we like the celebrations to be a very positive event.”

For more information about Earth Month events, visit

For more information about the Ohio University Office of Sustainability, visit