Earth Day(s): Keeping your community involved 365 days a year | KEYE Austin - Green Right Now Austin News, Weather, Traffic KEYE-TV Austin - HOME
Apr 172009

By Shermakaye Bass
Green Right Now

Earth Day isn’t just a date on the calendar or an annual do-good commitment; it’s a way of life, a state of mind, a mission even – and certainly an intention. The date itself, April 22, merely reminds us that, January through December, all days  should be “earth days” in our respective, collective communities.

You know this is true when mainstream news giants like Time magazine feature cover stories declaring the eminent demise of millions of species. Climate change is real, and potentially catastrophic. Still, there are loads of things we can do to stem climate change, or even help reverse it. Which is why each year Earth Day gathers more meaning and momentum, urging us to expand our green consciousness to 365 days a year.

Eva Radke, founder of Film Biz Recycling in New York City – a nonprofit committed to greening the film industry – grasps that idea.

“This might sound trite, but everyday is Earth Day in my book,” she says. “I think it’s stupendous to heighten awareness, and these events across the country (which number in the tens of thousands) get more and more people involved and I salute everyone involved, truly. But to me personally, it’s just another day. … We have to think about what we do to the planet as a result of our daily lives — daily.”

That said, Radke – recognized as April’s “Industry Star of the Month” by the New York City Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting – concluded, “I will probably do nothing different from what I do everyday, which is build Film Biz Recycling as an environmentally and socially responsible model for every industry, not just the film business. If New York City’s film community can alter its thinking and methods, even slightly (to the tune of 62 tons since Radke started FBR in June 08), then so can the hotel industry, clothing and auto makers, chemical companies, grocery stores, conventional farmers, carting companies, toy companies, the U.S. government, banking, Renaissance festivals, construction companies, land developers, space programs, day-care centers. … On Earth Day, I’m just gonna keep on keeping on.”

But – you ask – how can I do something as meaningful? Something that can truly change my immediate community?

Let’s say you don’t have the time or resources to commit to a 24-7 venture, as Radke did. But ask yourself these things: How can I convince my family, my kids’ school, my neighbors, or my government to be more pro-active? Well, like any grassroots movement, these things start by applying our imaginations – and a few of those little gray cells.

Here are three potential approaches:

  • Plant trees. Join a tree-planting campaign in your town or city; make your community look more lush, and help Mother Earth breathe mo’ better.
  • Grow food: Carve out a plot in your yard (it’s easier than you think!) or join a community garden. If your burg doesn’t have one, then start one.
  • Promote Pedal Power. If your town doesn’t have designated bicycle lanes, grease the wheels at City Hall to help the town lower its carbon footprint.