Everybody with a television, a newspaper or environmentally-minded friends has heard it many, many times before.
Every day, the saying goes, should be Earth Day.
Back when Earth Day was passed into law in 1970, environmental concern was anything but a regular talking point. Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, worked tirelessly to persuade fellow politicians that a national day of activism was something that was not only necessary, but had political legs beyond that session, that year, that tumultuous era of cultural upheaval.
Today, 37 years after it first made headlines and less than two years after Nelson’s death, Earth Day is still gaining momentum, and environmental health isn’t just a occasional front-page story — it’s an inescapable topic in daily American life.
From global warming to the hoopla over hybrids to carbon offsets, the earth recently has been a leading topic in the national discussion. What might please Nelson even more, however, is the action taken by local organizations to clean up their own part of it:
n The Buffalo Niagara Riverkeepers, which concludes a weekend-long clean-up effort at sites like Niawanda and Isle View parks, Ellicott Island, Tonawanda Creek and Gratwick/Riverside Park around the Tonawandas.
n The Niagara Beautification Commission, working alongside groups such as LaSalle Pride and Niagara University, on an all-morning “Beautify Niagara” effort.
n Volunteers and nonprofit organizations taking part in a “Canal Clean Sweep” up and down Lockport’s locks and canal banks.
Most of those events have reached their conclusion as of this morning. But there are still plenty of opportunities for Niagara residents to do their part, both now and into the future.
The surprise October ice storm left thousands of trees damaged beyond repair or severely cut back, reducing many formerly densely-canvassed streets to threadbare. Anybody looking for a rewarding project for themselves can easily find their hands full — literally.
Paul Maurer, general sales manager for the local office of radio broadcaster Citadel Communications, said volunteers will make a push to re-plant trees on Friday and SaturdayApril 27 and 28, but the effort could continue throughout the warm season.
“It’s not something we can do in one weekend,” he said. “To get everything really back to where it was, it’s going to take time and sustained effort.”
Maurer’s statement likely holds true for any environmental effort taking place this weekend, any weekend or through any Web site or corporate promotion.
It took only a few minutes to pass Earth Day into law, but millions upon millions of work hours to make it something real. There are, however, plenty of opportunities left for anyone and everyone to pitch in.
Contact Kevin Purdy at 693-1000, Ext. 107.
Find a project on the Web
www.earthday.net: Packed with ideas for changes and choices anybody can make to make a home or office less dependent on non-renewable resources. The “Footprint Quiz” — earthday.net/footprint — calculates a rough guide to a person’s annual impact on the global environment.
www.earthday.gov: U.S. government-run site with pamphlets and ideas for teachers, children and everybody else.
wings.buffalo.edu/ubgreen: The Univeristy at Buffalo’s own environmental impact group, with helpful links for consumers on power consumption and recycling programs.
www.nature.org: Links and directions to local nature preserves and ideas for how to help preserve natural habitats locally and nationally.
kidsdomain.com/holiday/earthday: Family-oriented crafts and nature projects, information for kids and recipes for natural foods — don’t be scared off by the “Dirt Cups,” which are actually pudding-based desserts.
Local projects and resources
Adopt-a-Trail canal clean-up
When: Following 10:30 a.m. worship service today (about 11:30 a.m.).
Where: First Presbyterian Church, 21 Church St., Lockport.
Details: Worshippers at both First and Second Presbyterian churches are asked to “dress down,” but anybody can volunteer for the clean-up. A light lunch, bags and gloves will be provided at the canal trail. Call the church office at 433-5905 for information.
Re-Tree WNY plantings
When: Friday and SaturdayApril 27 & 28, with possible planting on May 5 if needed.
Where: Anywhere volunteers decide to help replace trees damaged by the October storm.
Details: Re-Tree WNY is asking anybody with an interest in planting new trees to beautify or repair their community to contact Paul Maurer at Citadel Communications, 881-4555 or by e-mail at email@example.com. Registering will help the Re-Tree WNY group to determine the number and locations for trees to be planted. Details can be found at www.re-treewny.org.
Tree repair clinics
When: 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9 a.m. Saturdays.
Where: Home Depot stores around Western New York.
Details: Garden experts at area Home Depot stores will offer 30- to 45-minute sessions teaching homeowners the basics of pruning and repairing damaged trees and shrubs. Tips will also be offered for the proper removal and replacement of trees and shrubs beyond repair.
Recycle your cell phone or used batteries.
When: Any time.
Where: Select sites and stores across Western New York.
Details: Many cell phone dealers and electronics stores offer disposal/recycling programs for both used cell phones and nickel cadmium and rechargeable batteries, and some turn the products around to benefit charities. Radio Shack, for instance, accepts batteries and cell phones at its stores and donates $1 to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
You can find regional sites and mailing locations to drop off used phones and batteries at: