Monday, April 19, 2021

Earth Day is Thursday; here are resources for reporting on it

Thursday, April 22, is Earth Day. Here are a few resources for coverage:
  • The official Earth Day website includes news stories and resources reflecting this year's theme of "Restore Our Earth." Some stories have rural resonance, such as the one about reducing farming emissions with regenerative agriculture.
  • Track social media conversations by searching for the hashtags #EarthDay2021 and #EARTHRISE. The Earth Day Network, which organizes the observance, will post new content all week at @earthdaynetwork on Twitter.
  • USA Today has a piece with an overview of the observation, including some history.
  • The Verge has a guide to online Earth Day observations.
  • Amanda Gumbert, extension water specialist with the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, wrote an excellent piece in 2020 with ideas for celebrating Earth Day while socially distanced. “Take some time to get out into nature, even if it’s just in your backyard," she wrote. "Breathe in the fresh air, listen for birds, enjoy the many spring colors, and if you’re lucky enough to have a creek nearby, take a moment to appreciate the many benefits of clean water for both humans and wildlife.”
Gumbert suggested some other activities that people can do alone or with their families:
  • Plant a garden. Try containers for small patios or yards. Include both vegetables and some flowers for cutting. Another option is to join in a local farm’s community supported agriculture program.
  • Compost food scraps and yard waste, rather than sending them to the landfill. Before long a compost bin will provide rich, nutritious soil amendment for your garden.
  • Follow the 3 Rs to keep as much as possible out of the landfill. They are:
    • Reduce: Avoid using single-use, disposable items like paper plates, cups, napkins and utensils. “This is easier when eating most meals at home,” Gumbert said, “but try to create a new habit to avoid disposable items in the future. Also, avoid purchasing items with lots of packaging, which is usually wasted.”
    • Reuse: Find new uses for household items or share them with a friend.
    • Recycle: Look for opportunities to recycle items that can’t be reused or composted.
  • Take care of water resources. Planting along a backyard stream or neighborhood pond or lake will help reduce erosion, protect water quality and improve the beauty of the landscape.
  • Conserve water at home by taking shorter showers and turning off the faucet while brushing teeth.
  • Conduct a family litter cleanup. Grab some trash bags, sturdy gloves and boots and pick up litter along nearby streets and roads. Litter can create hazards for livestock, wildlife and waterways.
  • Save energy by turning out lights when leaving a room, unplug electronics when not in use, and switch to energy-efficient appliances when it’s time to replace old ones.
  • Check out nonprofit organizations with eco-friendly missions and support them if possible. “This Earth Day may be different than previous ones, but if we all take little steps, we can still make a big impact in improving our environment,” Gumbert said.

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