April 22, 2022

Naturalist: Earth Day should be every day

By Jarrad Hedes | Times News | April 22. 2022 | www.tnonline.com

One of the best pieces of advice Franklin Klock ever received came when he was 6 years old.

While walking along the sidewalk with his dad, the future Carbon County Environmental Education Center naturalist said it’s a shame that people litter.

“And he said, well, why don’t you pick it up?” Klock recalled. “Because if you don’t, you’re just as bad as the people that put it there. It’s not everybody else’s problem. It’s everybody’s problem.”

Earth Day will be observed across the world Friday officially for the 52nd time, but local and national environmental officials are quick to point out that being eco-friendly is more of a lifestyle than a celebration.

“It sounds a bit cliché, but Earth Day is every day when you think about it,” Klock, naturalist at the Carbon County Environmental Center said. “We are constantly educating ourselves about what we can do to help out. It can be as simple as finding out what a company does to help the planet or find out what the company does to hurt the planet before you purchase a product from them.”

According to the EarthDay.org website, the movement was started in 1970, a year after 3 million gallons of oil spilled off the coast of California. The theme for Earth Day in 2022 is “Invest In Our Planet.”

“This theme is meant to encourage businesses, governments and citizens to act now on climate change and other issues for a sustainable future.

“In 2022, we all must enter into one partnership for the planet. People, governments, and even most businesses fear change but the status quo – the way we live today – is changing before our eyes. In building our future, individuals, businesses, governments each have a unique role – we need to act individually and together,” said Kathleen Rogers, President, EarthDay.org.

Klock said there are many simple, yet big, things people can do every day.

“Drive less,” he said. “Shut your car off. If you’re sitting at a drive-thru, shut your car off, especially with the price of gasoline right now. People want to want to save money as well as save the planet.”

People are touting new technology such as solar and wind power, but Klock said consideration isn’t always given to the impact that has on wildlife.

“Mountain tops are stripped bare, to build wind farms,” Klock said. “Windmills can be very damaging to wildlife, especially animals that migrate over mountain tops in the fall. The sounds that they make and the air pressure that they create does damage to bats and smaller birds. When we talk about giant wind farms like in Alameda County, California, those are the largest wind farms in the world, but that area also has the highest population of golden eagles in the world. And those golden eagles are dying left and right.”

Local residents can do their part to help the environment by participating in activities such as the Lehigh River Clean Up on Saturday morning. According to organizer Shelli Holland, the group will meet in the gazebo in Josiah White Park and the cleanup will run from 8 a.m. until around noon. Bags, gloves and pinnies will be provided. Anyone who participates will also receive a T-shirt.

The Jim Thorpe Earth Day Festival, which was held for many years, will not be taking place in 2022.

“We feel we need to bring the event back down to a level of providing a service for our planet instead of creating more pollution, which is what a big event unfortunately does,” Holland said.

Lansford Alive’s annual spring cleanup takes place Saturday, beginning at 9 a.m., at Kennedy Park. Gloves, bags and vests will be distributed to participants.

On Friday, customers who bought a themed cookie or bitty cake will have $1 from the purchase go toward planting a fruit tree in the community.

“We’re working with Lehighton Area High School to get approval and have three planted on their property and we could possibly add to it every year and have it become part of a program for the school, whether it be a science class or something like that,” Christina Yurasits, owner of Blended Bakery, said. “We’ve been looking for different ways to give back to the community and thought is one really neat way to be able to do that.”

According to the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation, planting a tree is a great way to celebrate Earth Day as the trees clean the air, water and soil. They also provide healthy, nutritious food, shade, and encourage communities to work together, much like the thriving ecosystems found in fruit tree orchards.

Elsewhere, more than 520 volunteers will spread out across the Pocono Mountain region Saturday to clean litter as part of the Pick Up the Poconos Spring Cleanup in honor of Earth Day, organized by the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau.

During last year’s spring cleanup, more than 200 volunteers fanned out across the four-country region including Wayne, Pike, Monroe and Carbon, and removed more than 540 bags of litter in addition to large items such as a mattress, TV and pieces of metal from the river.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation also gets in the act, cleaning up everything from cigarette butts along the road to illegally dumped tires.

Secretary Yassmin Gramian said PennDOT spends upward of $14 million cleaning up roadside litter every year. It costs approximately $600 per ton to clean up an illegal dumpsite and it is estimated that there are thousands of illegal dumpsites across Pennsylvania.

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2022/04/22/naturalist-earth-day-should-be-every-day/