“The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations, whose words of thanks will not be heard.” — Gaylord Nelson, founder of Earth Day
April is Earth Month, an expanded version of Earth Day, which takes place annually April 22 as a reminder that we should be good stewards of our planet.
This year, we will host our ninth annual Earth Day Celebration with the help of more than 250 volunteers. Earth Day for us is a fun way to provide community education on a variety of environmental concerns — litter prevention, recycling and waste reduction, beautification and community improvement, water and energy conservation, and storm-water pollution prevention. I know there are many concerns in this world, but the issues we focus on we all can do something about every day because they are created by us. We — not some corporation — are the main culprits who create litter, storm-water pollution, an overabundance of garbage and poorly maintained green spaces. We also crave energy and technology, and jeopardize our water resources by taking them for granted. We want what we want right when we want it. There always is a price to pay for that.
There are many statistics that demonstrate the need for changes in our everyday lives. Americans buried or burned more than 166 million tons of resources in landfills and incinerators in 2008, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Also according to the EPA, half the world’s tropical and temperate forests have disappeared.
But there are statistics that show areas where we have made a difference. The Environmental Paper Network stated that in 2006, more than 76 percent of cardboard boxes and 72 percent of newspaper were recycled. Recycling, reuse and remanufacturing have accounted for at least 3.1 million jobs in this country, according to the American Solar Energy Society. And recycling can save three to five times the energy that waste incinerator power plants generate, per “Recycling Versus Incineration: An Energy Conservation Analysis,” by Jeffrey Morris.
Brenda Platt wrote in “Stop Trashing the Climate” that by cutting waste 1 percent annually while recycling and composting 90 percent of discarded items by 2030, we could save 406 megatons of carbon-dioxide equivalent each year — which equals 21 percent of the country’s coal-fired power plants.
Earth Day is just one day a year, but the environment faces challenges every day. According to earthday.org, the first Earth Day drew more than 20 million people nationwide to participate in demonstrations. Rallies and other demonstration events may offer a platform for raising awareness about some issues, but I am a much more concrete kind of person. I really like to do hands-on things that can make a difference. There are plenty such activities/projects people can do to help the environment on Earth Day and all year long. No step is too small to help to protect the Earth, so consider what you can do this Earth Month to make a difference.
There are several activities coming up locally with Keep Liberty Beautiful, so feel free to start your hands-on Earth Day pledge at the following events:
• Earth Day Celebration. This is a free public-awareness event, so volunteer manpower is a crucial part of making it happen. The event will take place from 3:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 22, at the YMCA. Approximately 70 games, crafts, displays and activities will provide environmental awareness in a fun atmosphere. If you or your organization or business would like to volunteer for Earth Day, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 880-4888. No environmental knowledge or experience is required because we can provide the background information and supplies needed.
• Citywide cleanups. We have two scheduled this month: April 18 in Flemington and April 25 in Hinesville.
• Other cleanups. There also are a number of neighborhood and Adopt Liberty cleanups. Plan now to make a difference where you live and work and play. All organizations, churches, businesses and civic clubs are encouraged to register now to participate in these volunteer cleanups to spruce up our community. Call 880-4888, email email@example.com or go to www.keeplibertybeautiful.org for more information.
I hope you will take some time this month to think about ways you can make a difference. Make this Earth Month a hands-on experience for our planet!