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A Texas-Sized Earth Day Celebration Starts Friday In Fair Park

Earth Day Texas

Fair Park is expecting a crowd of 75,000 starting Friday for a three-day, Texas-sized Earth Day celebration.

The environmental movement in North Texas has come a long way since those first, small gatherings back in 1970.

Earth Day Texas 2015 will celebrate the environment with 12 hundred exhibits, VIP speakers and a concert. On the first Earth Day 45 years ago? Dallas celebrated with a service project, some speeches and t-shirts.

“It was definitely not a mainstream thing at the time,” says former congressman John Bryant. “It was a challenge to the economic establishment who were very skeptical of environmentalists.”

Bryant was a 23 year-old law student at SMU in 1970 and helped organize an Earth Day celebration there.

“Growing up I was in the outdoors a lot and I was a Boy Scout and I thought we should be protecting the environment. Hated to see the trees chopped down and the rivers polluted and that was the growing feeling of my generation at that point,” he says.

And the feeling has grown so much that Earth Day Texas will be the biggest show in town this weekend. NASA will be there, so will hundreds of cutting edge electric and hybrid cars. Trammell Crow is the person behind the massive celebration. He says some corporations that might surprise people will have a presence there too.

“I know that it’s controversial to have Oncor or TXU at Earth Day, but they have green initiatives, they show them off,” Crow says. “And when they go home, those few people who man that exhibit, it rubs off on them, I promise you.”

Crow hopes it will rub off on a lot of the people who attend, which is why there’s something for everyone: Tree Climber’s International, a speaker series on bat conservation, a forum on business and the environment.

“And another reason to have it here is that we’re all sinners in Dallas, Fort Worth. I mean the learning curve is so high,” says Crow. “Having this in San Francisco wouldn’t have the same effect.”

Which is why this Earth Day weekend, the biggest party in America is in a city known for pick-up trucks. But if Crow, who drives a Tesla, has his way, not for long.

Courtney Collins has been working as a broadcast journalist since graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 2004. Before coming to KERA in 2011, Courtney worked as a reporter for NPR member station WAMU in Washington D.C. While there she covered daily news and reported for the station’s weekly news magazine, Metro Connection.