Nature Lovers Find Each Other

Earth Day is a time for people to honor the environment, but many also mark the occasion as the day they found true love. This Valentine’s Day, we celebrate a few of these stories and get geared up for April 22!

Combining the love for the Earth and the love for others is a beautiful way to honor the incredible planet we all call home. Some couples even decided to tie the knot on Earth Day, April 22, incorporating greener wedding decorations and climate action initiatives into their ceremonies.

Valentine to Earth

Earth Day Nuptials (Hold the Plastic)

Two marine ecologists, Enie and Marc Hensel, got married on Earth Day in 2017 in St. Augustine, Fla., according to Good Morning America. Because they are located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, their home is very susceptible to the effects of climate change and plastic pollution.

"We chose this scenery and this day as a way to share our love and respect for nature with our close friends and family," Enie says.

The Hensels had locally sourced produce, stainless steel straws, recycling bins, and minimal plastic at their ceremony. Plastics are found in the water we drink and the food we eat. Studies have even shown a higher percentage of microplastics in the air we breathe inside than the air outside, according to EARTHDAY.ORG’s Babies vs. Plastics report.

“Our reliance on plastics could be the biggest gamble in the story of health in human history. We are all ingesting and inhaling microplastics,” said EARTHDAY.ORG’s President, Kathleen Rogers.

To have a sustainable, waste and plastic-free contribution to their special day, the Hensels also waded out into their local marshes to collect the perfect floral arrangements of sola wood flowers, which grow in very dry areas.

They even used a washed-up fishing net as decoration, reusing trash lost at sea and turning it into a beautiful accessory to their scenery. The couple also incorporated climate education into their celebration, posting signs with 10 things people could do to be more environmentally friendly. For example, avoiding plastic bags at the grocery store.

Effective waste management, recycling, and monitoring are vital to the downstream process, but without focused upstream action, plastics and microplastics will continue to flood our environment, our homes, and our bodies, according to EARTHDAY.ORG’s Babies vs. Plastics report.

"Nature provides us with food, water, medicines, cleans our air and water, protects us from storms, etc. Earth Day gives us a great opportunity to take a step back to appreciate how unique this planet is, how valuable it is to humans, and how important it is that we protect it," Enie adds.

No Rain on This Parade

Mike Weilbacher is the executive director of the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education in Philadelphia, the region's largest and oldest nature center, according to his website.

He met his wife while planning Philadelphia’s Earth Day extravaganza in 1990 when her parade reached his outdoor stage. The rest, as they say, is history. Now, this event is Philadelphia’s longest-running Earth Day event. 

After 1990, 20 years after the inaugural Earth Day, the celebration spread globally where over 100 million people in 100 countries joined together to advocate for the environment and bring awareness to climate change.

Mixing Love and Politics

Another more well-known couple did not tie the knot on Earth Day but started their journey together while celebrating the environment.

In 1990, Teresa Heinz met Senator John Kerry at an Earth Day rally, which sparked a love that lasts to this day. This was the only reported time the two met before her first husband, Senator Heinz, died in a plane crash the following spring.

In 1992, Teresa Heinz met Kerry again, this time they were both delegates at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Three years later the couple got married in Nantucket. In January of 2021, Kerry was sworn in as the first Special Presidential Envoy for Climate and the first Principal to sit in on the National Security Council entirely dedicated to climate change, which has now been taken over by John Podesta.

In this role, Kerry was responsible for leading U.S. diplomacy to address the climate crisis by increasing global climate ambition. His team focuses on enhancing adaptation and resilience to climate impacts, driving overseas clean energy innovation and competitiveness, among other initiatives to better integrate climate advocacy in international shipping and aviation activities, according to the U.S. Department of State website

Love Can Make a Difference

All in all, a shared love for the environment has the power to bring people together for life and empower them to help save the Earth together. It is important to remember that we are all susceptible to plastic pollution and climate change, and the best way to fight it is to work together as one unit by sharing our love for the planet and the people who inhabit it.