From East Aurora Advertiser by Ellen Neumaier

Hair styles are different.  But our passion isn’t. 

Lake Erie, the source of our drinking water, was declared “dead” in 1970.  This was 50 years ago, the year Earth Day began.  The Cuyahoga River near Cleveland caught fire.   Lakes and waterways were in trouble everywhere.

I filmed the scorching red skies from the Skyway in the late 1960s.  Crimson flames from unfiltered pollutants burned our lungs and left a film on everything.  But it was a major oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara that brought things to a head.  Pollution like this was destroying our waters, ruining our health and nothing was being done, people protested.

My husband was co-chair of the 13th International Great Lakes Conference held at the Statler Hotel in Buffalo, April 1970.  When word got out that President Richard Nixon and Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau might attend, students gathered outside in protest.  Buffalo police insisted their representatives be escorted through the back door of the Statler kitchen for their safety.

Public pressure forced President Nixon, never regarded as an environmentalist, to sign the Clean Waters Restoration Act, and form EPA that year.  The Federal Canada Clean Water Act began.         

Because of these actions, our air and waters slowly got better.


EARTH DAY 2020 here in East Aurora was to be a BIG EVENT!  The 50th anniversary! 

Mayor Pete Mercurio and Supervisor, Jim Bach, would team up, start off a Village Bike Ride, with a primer on bike safety by our police department.  Students from the Sustainability Club at the high school were to present 5 environmental demonstrations.  Swift Rails planned to bring a new

Zero-emissions transportation pod that people could sit in.  It was to be a Zero-Waste affair.

Fifty years later we still have major environmental problems.  Our oceans are filled with plastics.  Our forests are being clearcut.  Our pollinators, key to our food supply, are being killed by pesticides.  We keep destroying habitats, bringing species to extinction.

Our required “stay at home” gives us time to think.  What are our most important priorities?  How can we change our habits to make them better for us, and better for the earth?  Can we curb our frantic racing around, reduce our stress, stress on the earth, and still get things done?  What can each of us do to protect our one and only planet?  (I hear Buffalo’s skies are amazingly clear now, just like Wuhan’s)

We have knowledge.  We are creative.  And we have passion.

Styles have changed.  Can we?

ACES is a volunteer group which formed to help the Village of East Aurora meet the requirements of a Climate Smart Community.

Originally focused on energy use and its relation to climate change, ACES has grown and evolved to include many aspects of environmental stewardship.

Members write regular articles for the East Aurora Advertiser, sort trash at community events, monitor pesticide use, provide community forums, promote sustainability, collaborate with educators, and constantly work to improve the environment.

Name has evolved to:

Aurorans for Climate and Environmental Sense