“Cleaning up Chisinau” is a project organized by the organizations Youth Generation, ADVIT, Art Labyrinth and AVI, aiming to promote ecology and recycling by gathering people to clean up the city. The project is a one day event, taking place on April 24th 2010, 12.00 – 21.00, and will include cleaning parks in each of the districts of the city, as well as a free concert for the people who helped clean. Continue reading
Three weeks from today, hundreds of thousands of American citizens will demonstrate in parks across the country calling for official action on global warming.
They’re right that the United States has failed to implement strong policies that would help reduce the nation’s harmful emissions that contribute to climate change. Continue reading
Not surprisingly, the numbers vary according to party affiliation. A much lower 33 percent of Republicans think the government is doing a poor job to protect the environment, but that number grows to 67 percent among Independents and tops out at 78 percent among the Democrats.
The environment always seems to get the back seat, doesn’t it? There’s the Kyoto Protocol, ideas about oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and the worst energy crunch since the ’70s.
Sure, government can do more, but as Earth Day approaches, it’s time we ask ourselves the same question: Are Americans doing too little to support the environment?
We’re still driving gas-guzzling SUVs, idling in drive-through lanes, and blasting the AC in our cars, homes and offices. Recycling has plateaued as we toss our PET water bottles into the trash, and we’re over-watering our lawns while many parts of the country are experiencing the worst drought in decades.
Perhaps Gallup should do a follow-up survey asking Americans what they’re doing to support the environment. Are we being efficient with our limited water supplies, protecting air quality, and curbing the garbage we generate and energy we consume?
Not nearly enough of us are even aware of how our everyday activities can worsen environmental problems. Did you know transportation accounts for two-thirds of U.S. oil use?
The good news is that there are some incredibly simple and sensible ways we can all help improve the global environmental picture. So, for Earth Day 2006, why not embrace the "Top Five Ways for Americans to Support the Environment"? They’re so easy, even a Republican, Independent or Democrat can do them.
1. Drive efficiently. Even if you drive an SUV, be sure the tires are properly inflated and aligned, and that the air filters are clean.
Avoid drive-throughs, don’t top off your tank, and, as ozone season approaches, be sure to fill up only in the morning or evening.
2. Garden efficiently. Don’t over-water your lawn. The healthiest lawns are watered just about an inch once a week. If you have a
sprinkler system, set it manually and fix broken sprinkler heads.
3. Live efficiently. Remember, water and energy consumption are linked — it takes electricity to pump and heat water. Set your
thermostat at a comfortable but reasonable level. Save water indoors by installing low-flow showerhe?ds. Fix all leaks. That
goes for plumbing and insulation. Read your utility bills and try to reduce your household’s consumption.
4. Shop efficiently. Choose products with less packaging and recycle whenever you can at home and at work. If you drink bottled water, try using some of the trendy reusable Nalgene containers.
5. For goodness’ sake, vote. Kiss apathy goodbye. Take control of your own personal environment, and when it comes to the government, take a few minutes to understand the issues and voice your opinion in the ballot booth in every election.
As the shepherding group Earth Day Network points out, the relatively new holiday really makes a difference. "Earth Day broadens the base of support for environmental programs, rekindles public commitment and builds community activism around the world through a broad range of events and activities," concludes the organization.
This year’s theme is Protect Our Children and Our Future, and a number of events are planned to highlight the threats of air and water pollution, particularly in inner city communities. Kathleen Rogers, the president of Earth Day Network, explains, "While progress has been made, many of those problems still exist, especially among children, the poor and other vulnerable populations. On this important anniversary we are bringing people together to focus on those environmental concerns that threaten the environment our children are growing up in.
In fact, a lot has changed since more than 20 million people rallied around the first Earth Day in 1970. Many environmentalists were deeply disappointed at their failure to get green issues seriously considered in the course of the heated 2004 national elections. And as E reports in our upcoming May/June 2005 cover story "Trashing the Greens," in 1992, according to Canada-based Environics Research Group, 17 percent of Americans agreed with the statement that pollution [is] necessary to preserve jobs, whereas in 2004, a whopping 29 percent agreed with it. Even more disturbing are the controversial conclusions of Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, who argue in their hotly debated essay The Death of Environmentalism that only a quarter to a third of the American people are now firmly in the environmental camp a dramatic drop from previous numbers.
What’s going on? E’s upcoming cover story will investigate many of the underlying forces that have conspired to push the environment essentially to the back burner of most Americans’ lives, even though they literally can’t live without it. Some of the chief suspects include systemic problems with the media and with our electoral politics, as well as the heightened effectiveness of ultra-right-wing foundations who are pushing a special interest agenda. But there are other forces at work as well.
Environmentalists are largely fighting a war of public opinion on two fronts, which is not an enviable position, as any general will tell you. On one hand is the age-old enemy of any social movement, regardless if it is right or left, religious or secular, or revolutionary or reactionary, and that is the demon apathy. It takes a lot of intellectual and emotional convincing to get someone to change a behavior. In today’s world that often means people consume a lot of unnecessary and dirty products and services when better designed, more environmentally friendly options are readily available, from wind power over coal burning to high-tech hybrid cars over gas-guzzling behemoths to recycled-content toilet paper over the same product made from virgin fiber.
Let’s face it, in its history, the environmental movement has seen the biggest gains in support after big disasters and outrageous ?trocities, from the Exxon Valdez spill to rivers catching on fire and nuclear meltdowns. These big events can shock people into making a difference, but they shouldn’t be the only impetus.
The other front is the ongoing "culture war," in which the recently emboldened conservative power brokers in this country are leading a new crusade of anti-environmentalism. Whether it is motivated by a particular strain of religious zeal or pure pocketbook selfishness, big business and its allies in the Republican Party are working hard to roll back environmental protections and progress. At the grassroots, many people are not hearing the green message and fall in line with their peer groups, which take their cues from community leaders and on up the hierarchy to the White House, which is one of the most anti-environmental administrations in history.
Those waging a cultural backlash against environmentalism unfairly exploit the vagaries of scientific uncertainty and the complexity and perceived subtlety of today’s environmental problems. For instance, Ross Gelbspan recently wrote in Mother Jones that as a direct result of highly coordinated public relations efforts on global warming, "The press accorded the same weight to the industry-funded skeptics as it did to mainstream scientists, creating an enduring confusion in the public mind."
Thus, special interests can appeal to apathy and work to head off any discussion of sensible changes to address the threat of climate change by continually harping on over-inflated charges that the "scientific jury" is still out, when actually, "What we know about the climate comes from the largest and most rigorously peer-reviewed scientific collaboration in history–the findings of more than 2,000 scientists from 100 countries reporting to the United Nations as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change," as Gelbspan writes.
Similarly, naysayers of the environmental movement like to point out that the U.S.’s air and water are cleaner than they have been in decades, and that there are more trees. First, that speaks to the effectiveness of environmentalism. Second, while there may be more trees than 100 years ago in much of the country, there aren’t more virgin stands of timber, and any ecologist will tell you that you therefore are talking about very different ecosystems that have their own needs and "values." Further, as Shellenberger puts it, Thirty or 40 years ago the environmental problems were cleaning up the air and water, very straightforward and simple to deal with But now were talking about mass extinction, global warming, an oceans crisis In other words, just because the air and water may be cleaner by some measures doesn’t mean other threats aren’t on the horizon.
Earth Day Network helps coordinate more than 12,000 organizations in 174 countries, leading to a highly diverse range of local events and festivities each year. For example, this Earth Day will feature an historic environmental rally in Kiev, Ukraine, where leaders of the new democratic government will address more than 250,000 citizens. There will be actions in China and South America, and a conference on water issues in the Middle East.
In the U.S., a tremendous range of activities are planned. Take Austin, Texas, for instance, which has no fewer than 12 Earth Day 2005 events listed on Earth Day Network’s online calendar. More than 1,000 Austin volunteers are expected to help remove invasive species, pick up trash, build trails, plant native plants and more. If that sounds too strenuous, consider dining al fresco with The Progressive Potluckers, the Austin Parks Foundation and members of the AustinEcoNetwork Eat, Drink and Be Earthy. At this decidedly "low key" event, kite flying, Frisbee throwing, swimming in springs and other fun activities are encouraged.
In Chicago, Friends of the Parks will be organizing volunteer efforts all around the Windy City. In San Francisco, there will be beach cleanups; a special event with folk musician Joni Mitchell (who’s song "Big?Yellow Taxi" helped energize the first Earth Day events in 1970); a "Wild, Wild Wetland Jam" that features wetland restoration activities, bird tours, entertainment, a community talent show, a dessert contest and games; and a day of "green" films, art installations, live music and other activities at the Sony Metreon complex.
The natural products retailer Whole Foods will be hosting composting workshops and other programs at many of its stores, and natural cosmetics and hair-care company Aveda will host highlights of its "April is Earth Month" campaign, during which the company is working to raise $1 million for conservation and collect 100,000 signatures to support the Endangered Species Act.
Getting involved with Earth Day is a cinch, and it’s fun. Some people consider the holiday to be a prime opportunity to display an Earth Flag (with the globe on a blue field) or other symbol of their patriotism in the human species as a whole and our critical role as stewards (whether we like it or not) of the global environment.
Hopefully, this Earth Day will provide an opportunity for people of all stripes to debate the issues, make positive changes, get organized and get to know the world around them a little better. Earth Day is for all of us, as well as for every living thing.
By Brian C. Howard
First and foremost is green car technology. Some 200,000 hybrid cars have been sold in the U.S. since 1999, and automakers will add as many as eight new gas-electric models in the coming year to the six already on the market.
Next is green buildings, with more than 200 new commercial and public structures in the last five years meeting or exceeding rigorous standards for energy efficiency, use of recycled materials, water conservation and other practices set by the U.S. Green Building Council. Also, almost 10 percent of new-home construction in some of the nation’s top housing markets meets Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star standards for high levels of energy efficiency.
Plant-covered green rooftops–which reduce storm-water runoff, air pollution, energy bills and the urban "heat island" effect–is another area where Americans are making strides, according to Lowy. Several major U.S. cities are adding thousands of acres of green roofs through various incentive programs.
Americans are also more and more inclined to purchase green energy. Lowy is especially intrigued by the prospects for wind energy, which has been growing 25 percent annually for each of the past five years, and which promises significantly increased production capacity over the next decade with the construction of ever-larger offshore wind farms.
Lastly, Lowy lauds efforts by chemical manufacturers to green up their product lines in the face of mounting pressure from environmentalists. Indeed, chemists have been working feverishly in recent years to develop chemicals that solve problems without adding to America’s pollution burden.
All in all, Lowy remains optimistic that these green trends bode well for America’s environmental future moving forward, despite the threats trumpeted by the skeptics.
Reporting by Roddy Scheer
The game and one day lesson plan, called ?Environmental Jeopardy?, was sent to more than 6500 educators around the country who are members of Earth Day Network?s Educator?s Network. Teachers who join the Educator?s Network through the Teacher?s Corner of the Earth Day Network website will also receive a free copy of ?Environme?tal Jeopardy?.
?Earth Day Network?s engaging and innovative educational resources are designed to help educators improve the quality and quantity of environmental education their students receive,? said Eric Rubin, Director of Education Programs at Earth Day Network. ?These resources, including Environmental Jeopardy, meet educational guidelines and are fun for teachers to implement on Earth Day or any day.?
?Environmental Jeopardy? was designed by Earth Day Network to challenge the way students think about important issues such as recycling, energy, sustainability, transportation and pollution, which affect the lives of all Americans.
Earth Day Network works with educators around the country to provide innovative and thought-provoking environmental education tools and curricula. Earth Day Network believes that environmental education should be a year round priority and encourages its practice by providing an ongoing series of tools and curricula to educators who are a part of their Educators Network.Following this initial release of ?Environmental Jeopardy? Earth Day Network will promote a second version called ?What?s in Your Food, What?s in Your Body? which participating educators can download from the Earth Day Network website prior to Earth Day on April 22, 2005. Another version of the game will be available to educators by the end of May.
About Earth Day Network
Earth Day Network was founded by the organizers of the first Earth Day in 1970 and promotes environmental citizenship and year round progressive action worldwide. Our mission is to build broad-based citizen support for sound, workable and effective environmental and sustainable development policies. Earth Day Network is a driving force steering environmental awareness around the world, with a global network that reaches over 12,000 organizations in 174 countries. As a result, Earth Day is celebrated by more than half a billion people each year making it the largest secular holiday in the world.
As activists prepare for the 35th anniversary of Earth Day, April 22nd, Earth Day Network is reaching out to a wide range of constituents to increase awareness of issues affecting communities nationwide, particularly communities of color and inner-city neighborhoods. Earth Day Network representatives attended the historic meeting of the Baptist Conventions in Nashville on January 23rd and received commitments from more than 45 ministers to participate in Earth Day 2005 activities.
The theme of Earth Day 2005 is Protect Our Children And Our Future. Many low-income and communities of color suffer from the negative impacts of poor air quality, lack of urban green space, contaminated water, and a lack of public transportation. As a result, children in these areas are developing high rates of asthma, cancer, and other environmentally-related diseases and developmental problems.
The ministers pledged to honor Earth Day 2005 by delivering a sermon on Earth Day Sunday (April 24th) addressing environmental stewardship, organizing or participating in an Earth Day event, raise funds for an Earth Day event, local environmental or health organization, or to form a ministry at the church that addresses these issues.
?We are pleased that the ministers are joining with us in this fight,? said Kathleen Rogers. ?Churches are in the forefront of social justice activism and organizing and have the power to inspire people to demand the changes needed to stop environmental degradation in our communities.?
Earth Day Network is reaching out to representatives from all religious groups to involve them in Earth Day activities and to spread the message that peopleâ?Ts environment starts in their own community. This year environmentalists will be joined in a number of Earth Day events and activities by members of the Jewish and Muslim faiths, as well as Catholic and Protestant groups.
ABOUT EARTH DAY NETWORK
Earth Day Network was founded by the organizers of the first Earth Day in 1970 and promotes environmental citizenship and year round progressive action worldwide. Our mission is to build broad-based citizen support for sound, workable and effective environmental and sustainable development policies for all. Earth Day Network is a driving force steering environmental awareness around the world, with a global network that reaches over 12,000 organizations in 174 countries. As a result, Earth Day is celebrated by more than half a billion people each year making it the largest secular holiday in the world.