Green Up Day: A Little History Lesson about Vermont

Here at Lake Champlain Chocolates, we like to say that Vermont isn’t just a state, it’s a way of doing things.  However, this isn’t just a slogan about our gourmet chocolates, it’s actually true of Vermont in so many ways. 

It’s no secret Vermonters are known for being independent-thinkers, progressive and environmentally-conscious.   We’ve been called hippies, we’ve been called liberals, but the truth of the matter is, despite these nicknames, we’re pretty proud of the fact that we like to do things our own way.

This history of our progressiveness started early on, before we were even technically a state.  In 1777, Vermont was the first of the original colonies to abolish slavery.  We were also one of the first states to give women voting privileges.  Women voted in town meetings in Vermont in 1918 – two years before the 19th amendment was put in place nation-wide. 

In more recent history, did you know we were one of the first states to embrace the Container Deposit Legislation, encouraging the recycling of glass bottles starting in 1973?  To this day, Vermont recycles more than most states, and is one of the few to still offer bottle redemption for carbonated beverages.

We were also the very first state to organize a state-wide movement to clean up our land.  Green Up Day was started when a Burlington Free Press reporter had the idea to rally Vermont citizens together on one day, to help clean up from winter – garbage, runoff and other unsightly damages from months of ice, snow and wind.  70,000 (yes that’s correct – I didn’t add any extra zeros!) showed up on April 18th, 1970 to help beautify Vermont’s parks and road systems. 

This Saturday, May 7, will mark the 41st annual Green Up day here in Vermont.  Garbage bags are available at town halls, and thousands of citizens will comb parks and roadsides, picking up litter and getting the state ready for our glorious green season.  This is such a widely embraced tradition, I can guarantee some of my fellow LCC’ers will be making a proud showing in our local town’s events.