In observation of Earth Day, the city of Tallahassee’s annual leadership team planted a rain garden outside Primitive Baptist Church on Tuesday.
Volunteers said rain gardens minimize storm water pollution and improve water quality.
City officials said the South City area is their main focus, and recent projects were created to address the needs of the community.
Cynthia Barber, the city of Tallahassee’s director of environmental policy and energy resources, said Earth Day is important because it helps everyone focus on living a more sustainable lifestyle.
“I think every small act counts,” Barber said. “Once they’re gone, they’re gone, in terms of our natural resources. We need to preserve our natural resources for the next generation.”
Barber said if more people do not start preserving natural resources, later generations won’t enjoy the same quality of life that’s available today.
Karen Rubin, Think About Personal Pollution program coordinator, said everyone pollutes every day, but it’s never too late to limit the amount that’s being polluted.
“Every little thing that we do to prevent or mitigate pollution adds up to make a big difference,” Rubin said.
Melanie Mason, a volunteer coordinator for Sustainable Tallahassee, a volunteer organization that provides environmental care and awareness to local communities, said recycling, composting and not littering are things individuals can do to preserve natural resources and possibly save money.
Mason said she thinks educating people on the importance of sustainable lifestyles is the first step to having more environment-friendly communities. Her biggest concern is what could happen to Florida’s water if everyone is not more sustainable.
“We have storm drain runoff,” Mason said. “We have septic systems, and these things are polluting our water. Everything that we put out, whether it’s pesticide or soap, it’s finding our Florida water, and if a lot of that water becomes polluted, we’re in trouble.”
Mason said water pollution could affect Florida’s beaches, which would have a large impact on the state’s tourism industry.
“Tourists come here for our beautiful water, so, in my opinion, it’s nothing more important than protecting our water,” Mason said. “In order to do that, we can use environmentally friendly plant-based soaps, and there are different plants you can plant on your drain field that will naturally clean the water.”