Lisa Jackson: ‘Help Make it a Green MLK Day’

By Elizabeth Harrington | January 16, 2012 | 5:11 PM EST

People arrive at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, Monday, Jan. 16, 2012, for a ceremony honoring his legacy. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

( – Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson called for a “Green MLK Day” to mark the federal holiday, in the EPA’s official “Greenversations” blog on Friday.


Jackson used the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who said, “Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve,” to promote neighborhood cleanups, urban greening efforts and other environmental service projects.

“On Monday, January 16, the EPA is honoring Dr. King by calling on volunteers to participate in environmental service projects and help make it a Green MLK Day,” wrote Jackson in a blog post entitled,  “Go Green on Martin Luther King Day.”

“This year, we’re hoping you will mark the MLK Day of Service with a service project that protects health and the environment in your community,” she wrote.

“There are countless ways to be part of a Green MLK Day: Start using biodegradable and environmentally friendly cleaning products,” Jackson continued.  “Learn about composting and give it a shot in your own backyard. Pick up litter at a local park or field. Organize a ‘green club’ in your workplace, school or community.”

“One way to get involved is to participate in projects that help reduce waste, or cut water and energy use in your home and community,” Jackson wrote, as she promoted various EPA initiatives.

The federal holiday to honor the Civil Rights leaders was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1983 and first observed in 1986.  Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, always celebrated on the third Monday in January, was deemed a national day of service by Congress in 1994.

Dr. King’s full quote was, “Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermo-dynamics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”