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Education is key to Earth Day success

April 16, 2011
By KIM LOCCISANO - Times Leader Staff Writer (kloccisano@timesleaderonline.com) , Times Leader

Earth Day 2011 is set to be celebrated Friday, April 22.

The observance officially puts the annual event into its 41st year of what are now worldwide efforts to improve the quality of humankind's only home through avenues which often can be traced back to their having originated as one person's single idea.

The event was founded at a time in our nation's history when it was popular not to trust anyone over 30, much less over 40; and it was definitely not commonplace to stand in public agreement with too many members of the federal government.

Article Photos

The coming year’s anticipated changes to curriculum at Harrison Central High School are expected to bring some popular additions into the mix including instruction on the science and practice of composting. At that point the students will likely be able to expect to utilize compost they have managed through its transformation when transplanting flowers and veggies for the annual sales, such as is being done here by students. Ag Business class and FFA members (left to right) Allie Klnight, Carly Birney, Ashley Koch, Bryant Valdinger, and Jared Tipton. Seen with the students are samples of some of the flowers they have raised this year including Million Belles and begonias.

Earth Day was founded in 1970 by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson.

He wanted to take some type of positive action that could be looked at by the public as the first real step toward trying to actually bring about a better understanding of the impact we have on our planet; and all the while prompting people to make positive environmental changes beginning at the grassroots level - at home.

The first Earth Day activities involved more than 20 million Americans taking part in individual efforts in communities and small, rural and urban across the nation.

A check of the website, www.earthday.org/earth-day-2011 quickly provides all the proof anyone could need to see its reach is now truly global and year round in its scope.

Earth Day's founding and steady growth to the international recognition it enjoys year-round is looked back on now by historians who consider it to have been the seed out of which has grown an awareness raising unlike anything that came before it.

Through Earth Day and Earth Week growth over four decades numerous practices were closely examined and then policies and processes were redesigned improving such areas as the actual management of numerous types of waste.

Substantial industry changes rooted in Earth Day and Earth Week events and efforts have for years included: recycling, reducing power consumption, and improving conservation policies and practices in general.

Around the globe more than 140 countries will join this effort by having designed and put in place elements of their individual Earth Day and Earth Week celebrations and educational efforts.

More than 200 million people on Earth were participating in Earth Day by 1990.

In recognition of the power of millions of individual actions, Earth Day 2011 will be organized around A Billion Acts of Green: Personal, organizational and corporate pledges to live and act sustainably. At over 45 million actions to date, A Billion Acts of Green - campaign - the largest environmental service campaign in the world - is steadily building commitments by individuals, corporations, and governments in honor of Earth Day.

A Billion Acts of Green inspires and rewards both simple individual acts and larger organizational initiatives that further the goal of measurably reducing carbon emissions and supporting sustainability. The goal is to register one billion actions in advance of the Earth Summit in Rio in 2012. A Billion Acts of Green@ website quantifies acts of green through an easy-to-use online registration tool.

A Billion Acts of Green@ demonstrates the kind of environmental impact that can be made when millions of people, corporations and organizations make commitments, both small and large, to better their environment, said Earth Day Network representatives. .

Whimsical references are virtually all that remains of many of the unique trends and events born to the so-called 70s generation; but somewhere along the way the relatively humble beginnings initially tagged as "Earth Day" managed to get a solid foothold into the very fabric of society at large - and not just among the denim and sandals set of that famed era.

Whether driven by the increasingly fragile and unstable nature of almost every economy on the globe, or by the growing number of environmental alarms being sounded around the world as disasters of almost unthinkable scope are something we are now getting much too accustomed to dealing with as a civilization bringing new discussions forward on how to more effectively lessen .

The unexpected has become the expected, and the ensuing chaos is almost always on a large scale, and it is increasingly having a direct impact on inhabited areas around the globe, simply because mankind is always expanding its reach by attempting to push Mother Nature aside, knowing eventually she is likely to push back.

Among those lining up for an education that will put them toe to toe and nose to nose with Mother Nature many times over a lifetime's career in agriculture are students such as those at Harrison Central High School who are involved in its Agricultural Business Class and the school's FFA chapter.

While traditional farming is at the heart of what many of these students plan to do as adults, the reality is they will likely contribute to our nation's agricultural industry in far ranging ways - many will have been influenced as a direct result of Earth Day and Earth Week related interests private as well as commercial, say experts.

To navigate successfully through today's agricultural industry requires skills and knowledge at a very sophisticated level, and a willingness to regularly update your skills and industry knowledge.

Education is the key, as it provides a student firsthand knowledge acquired through hands on opportunities at a farm, greenhouse or nursery. Practices tied to improved waste management and ways to get the maximum use of all your available resources are central lessons in all Earth Day messages.

The 110 members of the Harrison Central High School FFA see their experiences in Ag classes will pay off through their annual spring sale fund raiser which is always held at the greenhouse on campus. This year's sale begins May 9.

By the time the flats of flowers go on sale for $13. students will have participated in almost the entire process that at its culmination enables them to sell their plants to local customers, thereby limiting the imprint selling such items - rather than selling them after having had them transported.

Through these educational and awareness raising and stewardship enhancing hands on lessons students are learning lessons that will impact their lives for years to come whether on a farm, through a nursery, at the grocery or in the kitchen.

The student works always produce quality results, and monies raised are directed into the FFA program at the local school. These students have a particular appreciation for what it means to successfully manage our Earth's resources, on Earth Day - and every day.

Loccisano may be reached at kloccisano@timesleaderonline.com

 
 

 

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