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Earth Day '07

Earth Day Navigation Community members Larry Dobson, Susanne Ohrvik and David Iles touch up a 6-foot-diameter globe to hang in the Hub at Bayview Corner. The artists have teamed with Goosefoot to hang the globe in celebration of Earth Day on Sunday, April 22. - Earth image courtesy of Reto Stockli, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Earth Day Navigation Community members Larry Dobson, Susanne Ohrvik and David Iles touch up a 6-foot-diameter globe to hang in the Hub at Bayview Corner. The artists have teamed with Goosefoot to hang the globe in celebration of Earth Day on Sunday, April 22.
— image credit: Earth image courtesy of Reto Stockli, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

BAYVIEW — We’ve got the whole world in our hands.

Being environmentally conscious should be an every day effort, but as the world celebrates Earth Day this Sunday, activities across the South End will help islanders remember we’re all in it together.

“It’s an opportunity,” said David Iles of the South Whidbey Earth Day Navigation committee.

“At times we’re not enjoying and respecting and appreciating what we have as a species,” he added.

Now observed in 175 countries, and coordinated by the non-profit Earth Day Network (www.earthday.org), Earth Day is the largest secular holiday in the world.

There is much that can be done on Whidbey Island this weekend, too.

The biggest blast is at Bayview Corner, where an extensive Earth Day Celebration kicks off at 11 a.m.

There will be speakers on earth science, health, energy and green building practices. Elsie Miller will speak on “Environmental Toxins and Children’s Health,” William Swenson will talk about “Ecology of the Soil,” Ken Carlin presents “Living Healthy in a Toxic World,” Kelly Keilwitz offers “Sustainable Energy in the Northwest,” and Dan Erlander will speak on “St. Francis and the Earth.”

There will also be a panel discussion on “green” building, retrofitting and energy.

Children’s activities — including a tree planting, science projects, singing and story telling — are also planned.

Information tables will feature local and national groups that will share information on sustainable life practices.

Live music, an open mic and a community jam will round out the event. Organizers are encouraging people to bring an instrument, poem, essay, or an opinion, and join in.

Iles said the event is designed to get locals talking.

“We want people to take it personal,” he said.

While he has no problem with large scale protests or other forms of activism, it’s the small things people can do on an individual basis that make a difference.

A brand new activity this year in Langley is the Earth Day Rally. Hybrid and alternative car owners will meet at noon Sunday at the bus depot parking lot in Langley and proceed through downtown Langley and continue out to Bayview Corner for the Earth Day festival. To sign up, or more information, e-mail tbeck@whidbey.com or call 221-8017.

Those who want to clean house and celebrate Earth Day at the same time will have plenty of oportunities this weekend, as well.

Island County, WSU Waste Wise and Beach Watcher volunteers are sponsoring a recycling event for tires on Saturday.

“This Saturday is the last opportunity this year to get rid of waste tires at a reduced cost,” said Katie Hicks, an environmental health specialist with Island County. “With Earth Day on the 22nd, this is a great chance for citizens to clean up their own neighborhood environments.”

Hicks said removing old tires helps eliminate breeding grounds for mosquitos.

Tires will be collected from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Coupeville solid waste facility on Highway 20.

The cost to dispose of off-rim passenger and light-truck tires are $2; on-rim passenger and light-truck tires are $3.75. Tires must be free of contamination and reasonably clean.

Another waste product of modern society that’s too hard for Mother Earth to swallow are consumer electronics.

From April 22 through May 5, locals can recycle unwanted electronics and help Habitat for Humanity build a home for a local family in the process.

“It can be hard to find a good place to dispose of old computers,” said Marchelle Hatchner, general manager of Coldwell Banker Tara Properties. Hatchner invites all islanders to join the company in making a difference on Earth Day.

“We’re offering an alternative to shoving another monitor into the closet. Bring it in to one of our offices during business hours. We’ve partnered with a Seattle area recycler who will, for a small fee, haul the items away and do the recycling for you,” she said.

Useable items will be refurbished and donated to charities or resold.

Bring unwanted computers, monitors, printers, scanners, keyboards and mice to the nearest Coldwell Banker Tara Properties office. Electronics recycler 3R Technology will pick up the collected items the first week of May. A portion of the funds will go to Whidbey Island Habitat for Humanity.

Electronic waste contains heavy metals that can pollute groundwater. Currently Island County doesn’t have a recycling program in place to deal with this kind of hazardous waste.

A solution is on the horizon, however.

“Starting in January 2009 manufacturers will be responsible for recycling their products,” said Jerry Mingo, Island County recycling and hazardous waste coordinator.

Some Langley residents will clean streets downtown in the spirit of Earth Day. Langley Community Club’s annual clean-up party on First and Second streets is on Sunday morning.

“Although it’s an annual event for the LCC, our scheduling of our downtown clean-up for Earth Day seemed fitting,” said Hal Seligson, a Community Club member.

Volunteers will meet at 8 a.m. to clean, weed and and trim. The club is still looking for helpers, and will provide trash containers, brooms and assorted tools.

Earth-friendly activities don’t have to end come Sunday night. This year’s international Earth Day celebration focuses on climate change, and this year’s Lyceum Series focuses on the subject, as well. The series runs through May.

“Whidbey Watershed Stewards feels this is an important focus for Earth Day and we are happy to participate in both the special Sunday activities as well as be a cosponsor of the Lyceum Series on climate change in April and May,” said Nancy Waddell, administrator of Whidbey Watershed Stewards.

“There will definitely be effects on Whidbey’s watersheds and nearshore, so planning for the changes is important work,” she added.

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