Happy Earth Day (almost)!

Written by Ken Leinbach
    Friday, 23 February 2018
Happy Earth Day (almost)!

In the calendar year of holidays, Earth Day is the young upstart. Full of possibilities, but not clearly defined.

We can tick off common traditions for holidays like New Year’s, Thanksgiving and Halloween, but what about Earth Day? Yet, even without exciting customs of gift exchanges or dressing up in costume, Earth Day is celebrated in 193 countries all over the world! Cool, eh?

We’d like to help the young holiday of Earth Day have its own annual ritual to mark the important day.

If you want to celebrate, but aren’t sure what to do, I offer you two suggestions:

First, make it a day of service. On April 21st, all of our branches will host a morning of volunteer projects, ending in a community lunch. I’d like to invite you to join us this year as part of the annual cycle of holidays. If you want to add costume and gift giving to the day of service, we wouldn’t be opposed, but seriously, come and join us at any of our three branches.

blog earthday

Photo: Chris Winters

Second, commit to one behavior that will benefit the planet. Like a New Year’s resolution, but specific to being conscious of the needs of our planet. I’m committing to building a greenhouse to extend the growing season of my garden.

To get your ideas flowing on this one, I asked our staff what eco-friendly practices they do that they are most proud of. Here are their answers.

I buy almost all of my clothes, including shoes, used. Everything I own is either a gift or from the Goodwill (with a notable exception of underwear). Not buying new products prevents waste and refuses to fuel the consumption and throw away economy we live in. — Mike

We reuse glass cans, like those tomato sauce comes in, as lunch containers or a to-go food container for friends. We also as a neighborhood got a compost city bin, and we all dump our compost at this location. — Carlos

I cut my dish sponges in half. They last longer and fit inside of glasses better! — Brittany

I commute to work via bicycle. Even during the coldest, snowiest days, I’ll bike the 2-mile commute. The trick is to wear layers, but not so many layers that you overheat, and wear a layer for blocking the wind. During the coldest days, wear something to wrap your face with and wear ski goggles to protect your eyes! Lastly, make sure to wash the salt and slush off your bike regularly to reduce rust. — Jeff V.

Cloth diapers! I am really proud of this. And, we share a car. Whoever is home with the baby gets the car and the other walks, bikes or buses to work. I biked on a 4 degree day and was really proud of myself. — MaryBeth

Planting native species in my yard to add beauty, biodiversity and habitat while conserving water. Native species, when appropriately placed, do not require additional watering once they are established. You can provide vital pollinator and wildlife habitat even in a small yard. — Kim

I’ve been a vegetarian for 17 years, primarily for environmental reasons. Being fully vegetarian is actually really easy these days. — Jeff M.

If you open our fridge, you might think that we only eat cream cheese and yogurt. Should you open these containers, you’ll find leftovers, cheese, salsa and that half onion we didn’t use last night. — Miguel

Collectively, the Center also made a pledge that we are really proud of! We’ve decided to save some natural resources and not mail the March/April issue of our newsletter. You’ll still find all of the great content online.

Newsletter earthday blog

Going paperless with just one issue will save approximately 60,000 pages of paper! You can help us save even more paper by opting-out of hard copies beyond March/April.*
If you’d prefer tangible paper, we’ll happily send a hardcopy and we’ll have print copies available at the reception desks of all three branches. But, if you’d like to help the UEC with its Earth Day Challenge, click here to let us know that you would like to receive digital newsletters instead of paper.

Happy Earth Day (almost)!

*If one-quarter of our members chose to receive paperless newsletters, it would save about 90,000 pages of paper and ink each year!

Ken Leinbach

Ken Leinbach

Ken Leinbach is a nationally recognized science educator and leader in community-based environmental education. From a trailer in a high-crime city park, Ken has had fun facilitating the grassroots effort to create and grow the Urban Ecology Center which is the topic of his first book.

Striving to live with as little environmental impact as possible, Ken lives in the community in which he works and, not owning a car, commutes by bike, unicycle, roller blades, and occasionally even by kayak on the Milwaukee River.



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