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April 18, 2006 > Earth Day

Earth Day

by Linda Stone

The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970 with 20 million people participating. During this time, cities were buried under their own smog and polluted rivers caught fire. Now, Earth Day is celebrated annually around the globe. Through the combined efforts of the U.S. government, grassroots organizations, and citizens, what started as a day of national environmental recognition has evolved into a worldwide campaign to protect our global environment.

Things that you can do to help out from the Environmental Protection Agency:

The three R's: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
Reducing consumption, reusing items, and recycling products and materials help to protect the environment. Reduce the amount and toxicity of trash you discard; Reuse containers and products; repair what is broken or give it to someone who can repair it; Recycle as much as possible, which includes buying products with recycled content.

Waste prevention, or "source reduction," means consuming and throwing away less. It includes: purchasing durable, long-lasting goods; seeking products and packaging that are as free of toxics as possible; redesigning products to use less raw material in production, have a longer life, or be used again after its original use.

By reusing items, repairing them, donating them to charity and community groups, or selling them- reduces waste. Reusing products, when possible, is even better than recycling because the item does not need to be reprocessed before it can be used again. Ways you can reuse are by using durable coffee mugs; using cloth napkins or towels; refilling bottles; donating old magazines or surplus equipment; reusing boxes; turning empty jars into containers for leftover food; purchasing refillable pens and pencils; and participating in a paint collection and reuse program.

Recycling turns materials that would otherwise become waste into valuable resources. In addition, it generates a host of environmental, financial, and social benefits. Materials like glass, metal, plastics, and paper are collected, separated and sent to facilities that can process them into new materials or products. This is one of the best environmental success stories of the late 20th century. Recycling, including composting, diverted 72 million tons of material away from landfills and incinerators in 2003, up from 34 million tons in 1990. By 2002, almost 9,000 curbside collection programs served roughly half of the American population. Curbside programs, along with drop-off and buy-back centers, resulted in a diversion of about 30 percent of the nation's solid waste in 2001.

Tri-City area Earth Day events:
Saturday, April 22
Earth Day
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Join the festivities and celebrate Mother Earth with music, activities, vendor booths.
Teen Center at Central Park
39770 Paseo Padre Pkwy., Fremont
(510) 792-4587

Monarch Habitat Restoration R
10 a.m. - Noon
Celebrate Earth Day by planting trees, weeding and clearing brush.
Ardenwood Historic Farm
34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont
(510) 636-1684

Earth Day Short Film Festival
11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Films showing: Drawbridge Documentary, Salt Pond Habitat, Returning Home, and Kids by the Bay.
Visitor Center Auditorium at Don Edwards
1 Marshlands Rd., Fremont
(510) 792-0222

Earth Day Restoration Clean-up
9 a.m. - Noon
Help clean debris and remove non-native plants.
Eden Landing
4901 Breakwater Ave., Hayward
(510) 452-9261 x109

Earth Day Resolution
1:30 - 2:30 p.m.
Get ideas and make an earth suncatcher.
Ardenwood Historic Farm
34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont
(510) 636-1684

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