MARCH/APRIL 2020

 



History of Earth Day

It was in September 1969, at a conference held in Seattle, Washington, that Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson announced that in the coming Spring there would be a nationwide grassroots demonstration on the environment. He proposed the nationwide environmental protest to thrust the environment onto the national spotlight.

"It was a gamble," Nelson recalled, "but it worked." Five months before the very first April 22 Earth Day in 1970, The New York Times carried a lengthy article by Gladwin Hill reporting on the rising tide of environmental events: "Rising concern about the environmental crisis is sweeping the nation's campuses with an intensity that may be on its way to eclipsing student discontent over the war in Vietnam...a national day of observance of environmental problems...is being planned for next spring...when a nationwide environmental 'teach-in'...coordinated from the office of Senator Gaylord Nelson is planned...." Senator Nelson also hired Denis Hayes as the coordinator.

The year was 1970. Citizens of United States were trying to understand the Kent State shootings and put their arms around the birth of fiber optics. While they were listening to an album called "Bridge over Troubled Water" they were stunned by NASA’s Apollo 13 mission. American’s were mourning a rock star named Jimi Hendrix and starting to pay attention to the environment. Earth Day 1970 preparations were in high gear.

On April 22, 1970, Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in what was to become the first of many Earth Day movements. At the helm was the national coordinator, Denis Hayes. Hayes, with his young and ambitious staff organized coast-to-coast rallies while thousands of college campuses organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. It soon became clear that the varied and passionate nationwide groups that had been fighting against oil spills, factory pollution, power plants, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, wildlife extinction now had a common platform and nationwide attention.

Each year, the April 22 Earth Day marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement.

Biography of Earth Day Founder, Senator Gaylord Nelson:
Gaylord Nelson (1916 - 2005)
Former Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson's best-known achievement is the founding of Earth Day in 1970. Described by American Heritage Magazine as "one of the most remarkablehappenings in the history of democracy," Earth Day made environmental protection a major national issue. A distinguished and influential public servant, Nelson served ten years in the Wisconsin Senate, was twice elected Governor of Wisconsin, and, in 1962, began an 18-year career in the U.S. Senate.

Senator Nelson's many achievements included legislation to:

• Preserve the 2,000-mile Appalachian Trail
• Mandate fuel efficiency standards in automobiles
• Control strip mining
• Ban the use of DDT
• Ban the use of 245T (agent orange)
• Create the St. Croix Wild and Scenic Riverway and the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Senator Nelson also co-sponsored the National Environmental Education Act and wrote legislation to create the Upper Great Lakes Regional Commission and Operation Mainstream/Green Thumb, which employed the elderly in conservation projects. He was the recipient of numerous awards, including two from the United Nations Environment Program.

Nelson became Counselor of The Wilderness Society (1981). During his 14 years of service at The Wilderness Society, Nelson worked to protect America's national forests, national parks, and other public lands. He also focused his attention on U.S. population issues and sustainability. He served as Chairman of Earth Day XXV, which was celebrated April 22, 1995. Senator Nelson was also the Founder of Earth Day Network's Earth Day 2000 Clean Energy Now! campaign.

Born on June 4, 1916, in Clear Lake, Wisconsin, he received his BA degree in 1939 from San Jose State College in California and his LLB at the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1942. He was in the U.S. Army during World War II for 46 months, serving as first lieutenant during the Okinawa campaign. Returning to Madison, Wisconsin, Nelson practiced law from 1946 to 1958.

Senator Nelson died on July 3, 2005 survived by his wife, Carrie Lee, and his three children. On his last Earth Day, although frail and in declining health, he joined his grandson at a school tree-planting ceremony to mark the day. (Source: Earthday.net)

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TurfMutt Foundation Urges Backyard Time, De-Stress in 'Safe Green Space'

Created by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute's (OPEI), the TurfMutt Foundation has reached more than 70 million children, educators and families since 2009. Through classroom materials developed with Scholastic, TurfMutt teaches students and teachers how to "save the planet, one yard at a time." TurfMutt is an official USGBC® Education Partner and part of their global LEARNING LAB.

The TurfMutt Foundation is encouraging everyone to get outside and receive the benefits of our green space now—but right in their own backyards. "It's a stressful time as our country seeks to 'shelter in place' as much as possible," says Kris Kiser, President of the TurfMutt Foundation. "We'd like to remind everyone that getting outside—in your own backyard—is an important activity, now more than ever, for you, your family and pets. De-stress and enjoy the healing aspects of nature in your own corner of the earth."

Science has proven that simply spending time in our family yards is good for human health and well-being, which is important today as everyone seeks creative ways to stay well while being confined to their homes. The backyard is "safe space," adds Kiser. "So, mow your lawn, trim bushes, throw a ball with the kids, plant a butterfly bush together, and get your hands in the dirt. Do get off the Internet and take a break from being cooped up inside."

A Stanford University study found that walking in nature resulted in decreased anxiety, rumination, and negative affect, and produced cognitive benefits, such as increased working memory performance. Multiple studies have discovered that plants in hospital recovery rooms or views of aesthetically pleasing gardens help patients heal up to one day faster than those who are in more sterile or austere environments.

Explore these six ways to tap into the health and well-being your family yard can provide.

Keep kids learning. With kids dismissed from school, the TurfMutt Foundation offers free, online, do-at-home lesson plans and activities where kids in grades K-8 can continue to learn science and nature lessons right in their own backyards. The TurfMutt environmental education program resources are based on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) principles, and teach kids about the benefits of taking care of and spending time in nature. Access the free TurfMutt resources at http://www.scholastic.com/turfmutt/.

Clean up your yard. The family yard is an outdoor living room, so prepare it for use. Mow the lawn, trim bushes, and tend to flower gardens. Garden supplies can be ordered online or you often can have them delivered from your local nursery. Take care of your yard, and it will provide the space to relax and recreate.

Plant something. Getting your hands dirty is good for you, says science. Soil is the new Prozac, according to Dr. Christopher Lowry, a neuroscientist at the University of Bristol in England. The bacterium stimulates serotonin production, which explains why people who spend time gardening, doing yard work, and having direct contact with soil feel more relaxed and happier.

Play a family game. If you have a small patch of grass, you have a badminton court, a croquet field, or a soccer field. Throw a ball to your kids -- or your dog. Run through the sprinkler if your area isn't in a drought condition.

Play with pets or foster a rescue animal. No one appreciates the yard more than a pet. Science also has shown pets have a stress-reducing effect on people and kids. So, get outside with your furry family member and let them remind you of the joys of the outdoors.

Dine outdoors. Have a family picnic right in your backyard or set up a table and chairs to have family meals in the sun or under a shade tree.

Just be. De-stress by observing the birds, butterflies, bees and other wildlife that use your yard as habitat and food. Get your toes in the grass. Watch the trees. Use outdoor time as meditation time.

"Your yard offers much during these challenging times. It has purpose," says Kiser. "And that purpose is more important than ever. Get outdoors with your family, get your feet in the grass and your hands in the soil. Just do get outside."c

For more facts on how the family yard and green space benefits families and communities, access the TurfMutt Foundation fact book: http://www.livinglandscapesmatter.com/wp-content/uploads/Living-Landscapes-Fact-Book.pdf

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Is a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Right for You?

Thinking about signing up for a CSA but want to learn more about the idea before you commit?  For over 25 years, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer.

Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of "shares" to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a "membership" or a "subscription") and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.

There are several advantages to joining your local CSA, here are a few:

You Know Where Your Food Comes From
In a CSA share your produce comes directly from your farmer so you know who is growing your food and how. If you have questions about their farming practices or values just ask! With this level of transparency, you can rest assured knowing your farmer cares about what matters to you.

Support Small Farming
By supporting small family farms you are guaranteeing that 100% of your money goes directly to the farmer to grow and harvest high quality food for you and others in your community

Variety
Most CSA farms strive for ecological diversity and a wide variety in crop production, so over the course of the season CSA farmers usually grow more types of vegetables than found at a grocery store. You’ll discover varieties that you might not otherwise find or buy, so get ready to enjoy your share of the season’s bounty including leeks, celeriac, edamame, garlic scapes, daikon, and many other diverse goodies!

Better Flavor
Fresh is best!  The time between harvest and consumption is reduced so you get fresher food that tastes better. Unlike industrial farmers who harvest for shipping and shelf-life, CSA farmers harvest for ripeness and flavor. Eating seasonally means every week you receive what the conditions were most fit to produce so you’re guaranteed to eat your veggies at their peak. Get ready for a culinary delight and adventure!

Have fun!
There are lots of exciting ways to enjoy your CSA share- including visits to the farm, u-picking, potluck dinners and community events. During the growing season there is always something fun to do with you and your family to celebrate local agriculture, enjoy good food and mingle with other CSA members.

Find a local CSA in your area, visit: http://www.localharvest.org/

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10 Habits of Highly Sustainable People

Green Americans are an active bunch. Over the years, many of them have reached out to Green America and shared the many actions they take in their daily lives, at work, and in their communities for a greener, fairer world.

The folks at Green America have put together this list of ten of the most high-impact actions for social justice and environmental sustainability. While these categories don’t encompass all of the things you can do to help create a better future, they are steps that will add up to a lot of change—especially when Green Americans across the country take action together.

1. Save Water
According to the EPA, the average American family typically uses over 300 gallons of water every day. With climate change causing droughts across the nation and around the world, it’s critical to save water whenever you can. And while US drinking water is safe for most people, toxic runoff from agriculture, industrial pollution, fossil fuels, and degraded lead-pipe infrastructure has put thousands of communities at risk. Take care not to toss chemicals down your drain at home, to avoid polluting local water tables, and to conserve water whenever you can.

2. Go Nontoxic at Home
You’ve probably heard the statistic from the EPA about indoor air being up to ten times more polluted than outdoor air, due to the toxic chemicals often found in conventional cleaners and other products. If you haven’t yet done anything about it, make this the year to start. When you choose eco-friendly, less-toxic cleaning products, detergents, fragrances, candles, body care, and more, you keep your indoor air cleaner and make your home healthier for yourself and your family.

3. Green Your Closet
Americans buy too much clothing, and it is glutting landfills. In addition, donated clothing often winds up being sent to developing countries, where it’s overwhelming local economies. The prescription for all this waste? Buy less, and when you do buy, buy organic and green clothing that lasts longer than flimsy “fast fashion” pieces.

4. Green Your Energy Use
If you really take advantage of all of the opportunities to amp up the energy efficiency of your home and office, it’s possible to shave your energy bill in half. And then, green the rest of your energy use to reduce your carbon footprint even more.

5. Bank and Invest Responsibly
Your money can do good in the world, if you put it in the right places. By choosing socially responsible bank accounts and investment products, your finances can work for you and for people and the planet. Right now, more than $8.7 trillion under professional management is invested responsibly, adding up to a lot of economic power pressuring corporations to clean up their acts.

6. Choose “Good Food”
At Green America, they use the term “good food” to refer to food that’s organic (grown without synthetic pesticides and fertilizers that pollute the planet), planted and harvested fairly in ways that don’t exploit farmworkers, and isn’t cruel and inhumane to animals. Lately, they’ve also started including food grown using regenerative farming methods, as well. Regenerative agriculture heals the soil, so it can better act as a carbon sink. Studies like those conducted by Rodale have found that a global switch to regenerative farming could actually reverse the climate crisis.

7. Build Green
Buildings—new and existing—have a huge impact on the environment. By implementing green features and using renewable or recycled and salvaged materials, home and building owners can greatly reduce a building’s impact on the environment and the climate.

8. Reuse and Recycle
Reusing products instead of buying them new—whether you find innovative ways to use things you already own, or swap, buy, or barter for someone else’s items—helps save energy, curb global warming emissions, and preserve the Earth’s precious resources. Choosing reusable products instead of single-use throwaways (bottled water, anyone?) curbs waste and reduces the burden on landfills, as well.

And, whenever possible, recycle unwanted items that can’t be reused to preserve resources.

9. Green Your Transportation
Transportation is one of the world’s largest sources of global-warming pollution. Walk, bike, or take public transit instead of driving. You’ll cut down on air pollution and help reduce emissions that are contributing to the climate crisis.

10. Travel Sustainably
Air travel in particular contributes to climate change, and so do all of the vehicles on roads worldwide. Whenever you can, walk, bike, or take public transportation to curb air pollution and global warming emissions. And when it’s time to go on vacation, choosing locally owned hotels, organic restaurants, and green businesses can help minimize your travel footprint.

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Carton Recycling 101: Tips from the Carton Council

Formed in 2009, the Carton Council is an industry organization committed to grow carton recycling in the US. By promoting both recycling technology and local collection programs, as well as growing awareness that cartons are recyclable, we work to limit the number of cartons that become waste. We’ve had significant success in the past seven years, helping to bring carton recycling to over 64 million households or more than 60% of them in the United States.

We all know that recycling is good for the environment, but we still sometimes find ourselves slipping. It’s not because we don’t care about the environment, but because recycling can be confusing. Today, the great folks at the Carton Council put an end to the confusion!

If your city or town is part of the majority of U.S. households that can recycle cartons (look up your address here), just toss your food and beverage cartons into the recycling bin along with your other containers. Seems simple enough, but you probably still have some questions. Below are answers to the question most frequently asked to the Carton Council:

  • Q: What types of cartons can I recycle?

  • A: All types! Milk cartons, soy milk cartons, almond milk cartons, juice cartons, soup cartons, wine cartons, large cartons, small cartons, and the list goes on.

  • Q: Do I need to remove the cap?

  • A: Nope. Just empty the contents and then screw the cap back on. The carton components will be separated later at the recycler.

  • Q: Do I need to wash out the carton?

  • A: No. As long as the carton is empty, it is okay to toss into the recycling bin. If you collect recyclables inside your home and are worried about odor, you may want to rinse them out though.

  • Q: Aren’t cartons difficult to recycle because they are multi-layer packaging?

  • A: The process is actually not that complicated. Cartons are sorted from the rest of your recycling and sent to paper mills where the fiber is separated from the other materials, then used to make paper products. Or the sorted cartons are sent to recycling companies that use the whole carton to make building materials.

For more information on carton recycling, visit www.recyclecartons.com

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4 Foods That'll Re-Grow from Kitchen Scraps

You recycle your bottles and newspapers, you upcycle thrift store finds into decor treasures, and you reuse all your plastic bags. But do you upcycle your food scraps? We’re not talking compost here, we’re talking re-growing food from scraps you might have tossed. Turns out, several odds and ends you might have tossed can be re-grown into more food! Here’s a great list compiled by the folks at Organic Authority.

Scallions
When your recipe only calls for the green part of the scallions, don’t toss the white end with the roots. Stick it in a glass jar with a little water and the greens will grow back. You can just snip off what you need as you go. This also works with leeks.

Lemongrass
This delicious, aromatic herb is really just a grass and will grow well in a pot in a sunny spot. Take the root ends (after you’ve used the rest in a recipe) and put in a jar of water in a sunny spot. After a week or so, you’ll start to see roots appearing. Once the roots look healthy, transplant your lemongrass to a pot and let it grow. You can start harvesting when the stalks get to be a foot or more tall.

Celery
The next time you’re chopping a bunch of celery, save the root end! Place it in a shallow bowl of water, and after a few days, you should start to see roots and new leaves appear. As soon as you see these, you can plant the celery—leaving the leaves just above the soil. The plant will continue to grow, and soon you’ll have a whole new head of celery!

Ginger
Did you know that ginger makes a beautiful (and useful) houseplant? If you’ve got a piece of fresh ginger going spare in your fridge, you can plant it in potting soil. Ginger is a root, and before long, you’ll notice a lovely plant sprouting from it. Once the plant is big enough, you can actually pull it up, whack off a piece of the root, and replant it whenever you need fresh ginger—or just enjoy your culinary houseplant.

Organic Authority is a trusted ally and the web‘s leading resource for all things… delicious and organic!

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