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How will you celebrate Earth Day Week?

By Pauline Benetti
Special to The PREVIEW

Here we are as individuals, as groups, as a nation and as a world community planning for another Earth Day celebration.

This year, Southwest Organization for Sustainability (SOS) is expanding its scope from an Earth Day Celebration to an Earth Day Week Celebration. Read on to discover how we are doing that, but first, do you know how Earth Day was born and what has been accomplished since the first one?

The first Earth Day Celebration was on April 22, 1970. Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin sponsored significant environmental legislation and organized the first Earth Day as a national rallying call for our environment. Twenty million Americans across the county demonstrated for a healthy environment and a sustainable way of life. The creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts all came out of this effort.

In 1990, Earth Day went global with 200 million people in 141 countries participating. Today, more than 1 billion people from 192 countries participate. In 1995, President Bill Clinton awarded Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor given to civilians in the United States, for his role as founder of Earth Day.

The theme of Earth Day 2014 is Green Cities. Check earthday.org for more details.

Back to the “here and now.” SOS has modified that theme to include Green Towns and is inviting the entire community to participate. Here’s how. As we visit with community members, businesses and organizations, we continue to hear great ideas about how we are already taking steps to reduce our carbon footprint. During Earth Day Week we will celebrate those steps.

We have activities planned as simple as children making posters and as diverse as community recycling education and promoting a composting center. Our goal for this week and throughout the year is to identify recycling problems and to find solutions. We will end the week with a community potluck party with locally provided music and other family friendly, fun activities.

We are lining up activities for each day of the week and want you to join us. SOS will take on the job of promoting your activity by advertising the event with times and locations to the community. All you have to do is contact us and let us know the particulars. SOS will take care of the rest. Here is a sampling of activities for the week: Audubon hikes, library displays, a 5K pick up trash walk, Habitat for Humanity’s Recycled Art Show, Geothermal Greenhouse Partnership’s composting demo, Unitarian Universalist’s trash pick up, a Recycle/Reuse/Rummage sale and more, including participation by several local businesses.

As a way to show the public that you, your organization or your business is involved in the week-long festivities, one of our members, Nyla, an artist, has designed a logo especially for Earth Day Week. The words “Take Steps to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint” and footprints are superimposed on an image of the planet. SOS is sharing this carbon footprint logo for Earth Day Week 2014 events. It will be sized to stamp on flags, t-shirts or whatever. Interested? Contact us.

Would you like to join the celebration? Here are some ideas to get you thinking, but don’t be limited by them. The asterisk (*) indicates an idea in search of an organizer. Contact us with your ideas:

• Trippin’ Over Trash — exploring solutions to recycling issues.

• Solid Footing — *sustainable building ideas.

• Strut Your Stuff — go on the SOS Facebook page and share what you do to reduce the carbon footprint.

• Can You Dig it? — composting and gardening.

• Walk the Walk — *compassionate cleanup. (Do you know someone who could use help with a cleanup need?)

• Steppin’ Out — hikes, *park clean up.

• Arts — Recycled Art Show, *arts/crafts project demos, *recycled fashion show.

Contact Nyla with your ideas for participating or to use the SOS Earth Day Week logo at (507) 304-3032 or nyjeea@gmail.com.

To take part in the Recycle/Reuse Rummage Sale, contact Kim at 946-6626 or aokdaddyo@yahoo.com.

This story was posted on April 10, 2014.