History of Earth Day

Keep America Beautiful Launches 2017 Great American Cleanup

Carton Recycling 101: Tips from the Carton Council

Don't Overwash - new project drives sustainable care habits

8 Spring Home Maintenance Projects That Will Save You Money

nature conserve

History of Earth Day

It was in September 1969, at a conference held in Seattle, Washington, that Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson announced that in the coming Spring there would be a nationwide grassroots demonstration on the environment. He proposed the nationwide environmental protest to thrust the environment onto the national spotlight.

"It was a gamble," Nelson recalled, "but it worked." Five months before the very first April 22 Earth Day in 1970, The New York Times carried a lengthy article by Gladwin Hill reporting on the rising tide of environmental events: "Rising concern about the environmental crisis is sweeping the nation's campuses with an intensity that may be on its way to eclipsing student discontent over the war in Vietnam...a national day of observance of environmental problems...is being planned for next spring...when a nationwide environmental 'teach-in'...coordinated from the office of Senator Gaylord Nelson is planned...." Senator Nelson also hired Denis Hayes as the coordinator.

The year was 1970. Citizens of United States were trying to understand the Kent State shootings and put their arms around the birth of fiber optics. While they were listening to an album called "Bridge over Troubled Water" they were stunned by NASA’s Apollo 13 mission. American’s were mourning a rock star named Jimi Hendrix and starting to pay attention to the environment. Earth Day 1970 preparations were in high gear.

On April 22, 1970, Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in what was to become the first of many Earth Day movements. At the helm was the national coordinator, Denis Hayes. Hayes, with his young and ambitious staff organized coast-to-coast rallies while thousands of college campuses organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. It soon became clear that the varied and passionate nationwide groups that had been fighting against oil spills, factory pollution, power plants, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, wildlife extinction now had a common platform and nationwide attention.

Each year, the April 22 Earth Day marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement.

Biography of Earth Day Founder, Senator Gaylord Nelson:

Gaylord Nelson (1916 - 2005)

Former Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson's best-known achievement is the founding of Earth Day in 1970. Described by American Heritage Magazine as "one of the most remarkablehappenings in the history of democracy," Earth Day made environmental protection a major national issue. A distinguished and influential public servant, Nelson served ten years in the Wisconsin Senate, was twice elected Governor of Wisconsin, and, in 1962, began an 18-year career in the U.S. Senate.

Senator Nelson's many achievements included legislation to:

• Preserve the 2,000-mile Appalachian Trail

• Mandate fuel efficiency standards in automobiles

• Control strip mining

• Ban the use of DDT

• Ban the use of 245T (agent orange)

• Create the St. Croix Wild and Scenic Riverway and the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Senator Nelson also co-sponsored the National Environmental Education Act and wrote legislation to create the Upper Great Lakes Regional Commission and Operation Mainstream/Green Thumb, which employed the elderly in conservation projects. He was the recipient of numerous awards, including two from the United Nations Environment Program.

Nelson became Counselor of The Wilderness Society (1981). During his 14 years of service at The Wilderness Society, Nelson worked to protect America's national forests, national parks, and other public lands. He also focused his attention on U.S. population issues and sustainability. He served as Chairman of Earth Day XXV, which was celebrated April 22, 1995. Senator Nelson was also the Founder of Earth Day Network's Earth Day 2000 Clean Energy Now! campaign.

Born on June 4, 1916, in Clear Lake, Wisconsin, he received his BA degree in 1939 from San Jose State College in California and his LLB at the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1942. He was in the U.S. Army during World War II for 46 months, serving as first lieutenant during the Okinawa campaign. Returning to Madison, Wisconsin, Nelson practiced law from 1946 to 1958.

Senator Nelson died on July 3, 2005 survived by his wife, Carrie Lee, and his three children. On his last Earth Day, although frail and in declining health, he joined his grandson at a school tree-planting ceremony to mark the day. (Source: Earthday.net)


Keep America Beautiful Launches 2017 Great American Cleanup

Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s leading nonprofit that envisions a country in which every community is a clean, green and beautiful place to live, just announced the official launch of the 2017 Great American Cleanup. Entering its 19th year, Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup is the nation’s largest community improvement program with an estimated 50,000 events occurring from spring through fall in more than 20,000 communities across the country. Find a local Keep America Beautiful Affiliate at kab.org.

The Great American Cleanup engages more than 5 million volunteers and participants who take action in their local communities to create positive change and lasting environmental, economic and social impact. Nationally, the Great American Cleanup annually delivers more than $175 million in measurable economic benefits to communities. The program is led by more than 620 Keep America Beautiful state and community-based affiliates and hundreds of other community, business and government partners who plan community improvement events and experiential education programs that help to:

  • Clean and improve 100,000+ miles of local roads, trails, shorelines and waterways;

  • Plant millions of flowers, trees, shrubs and community gardens;

  • Revitalize and restore acres upon acres of public parks, nature trails and recreation areas as well as vacant lots;

  • Collect tons of litter, debris and other items for proper disposal, recycling or reuse.

#cleanYOURblock Party

This year’s Great American Cleanup theme –“#cleanYOURblock Party” – encourages people to volunteer at a local Great American Cleanup event in their community, organize an event on their own block and to celebrate their positive actions with friends, family and neighbors. The #cleanYOURblock Party Toolkit from Keep America Beautiful provides activity ideas and other tips at kab.org.

National sponsors of the 2017 Great American Cleanup include Altria, Dow, The Glad Products Company, Lowe's, Niagara Bottling and ReadyRefresh by Nestlé. In select Keep America Beautiful affiliate communities, Marco’s Pizza, the fastest-growing pizza company in the U.S. (based on number of stores signed into development since 2007), will provide free pizza parties for volunteers and participants after Great American Cleanup events.

“It’s inspiring to see millions of volunteers, businesses, public officials and others turn out each year for Great American Cleanup events to ensure that our nation’s vital public spaces – our parks, trails, beaches, oceans, rivers, lakes, roadways, community gateways and more – remain clean, green and beautiful places to live,” said Mike Rosen, senior vice president, marketing & communications, Keep America Beautiful.

Start or Join a #cleanYOURblock Team!

Visit act.kab.org/cleanyourblock to create your own Great American Cleanup #cleanYOURblock team. Set up an individual fundraising page or join someone else’s team today! Invite family, friends and neighbors to join you at a local Great American Cleanup event, clean YOUR block, and celebrate your accomplishment! Make a donation today to Keep America Beautiful to advance the fight to End Littering, Improve Recycling and Beautify America’s Communities.

“We’re excited to make it even easier to participate in the Great American Cleanup and to support Keep America Beautiful by volunteering at one of the 50,000 events taking place throughout the year, organizing an event on your own block, and celebrating the work and contributions of millions of people who support Keep America Beautiful. Now let’s get to work!” Rosen added.


Carton Recycling 101: Tips from the Carton Council

Formed in 2009, the Carton Council is an industry organization committed to grow carton recycling in the US. By promoting both recycling technology and local collection programs, as well as growing awareness that cartons are recyclable, we work to limit the number of cartons that become waste. We’ve had significant success in the past seven years, helping to bring carton recycling to over 64 million households or more than 60% of them in the United States.

We all know that recycling is good for the environment, but we still sometimes find ourselves slipping. It’s not because we don’t care about the environment, but because recycling can be confusing. Today, the great folks at the Carton Council put an end to the confusion!

If your city or town is part of the majority of U.S. households that can recycle cartons (look up your address here), just toss your food and beverage cartons into the recycling bin along with your other containers. Seems simple enough, but you probably still have some questions. Below are answers to the question most frequently asked to the Carton Council:

  • Q: What types of cartons can I recycle?

  • A: All types! Milk cartons, soy milk cartons, almond milk cartons, juice cartons, soup cartons, wine cartons, large cartons, small cartons, and the list goes on.

  • Q: Do I need to remove the cap?

  • A: Nope. Just empty the contents and then screw the cap back on. The carton components will be separated later at the recycler.

  • Q: Do I need to wash out the carton?

  • A: No. As long as the carton is empty, it is okay to toss into the recycling bin. If you collect recyclables inside your home and are worried about odor, you may want to rinse them out though.

  • Q: Aren’t cartons difficult to recycle because they are multi-layer packaging?

  • A: The process is actually not that complicated. Cartons are sorted from the rest of your recycling and sent to paper mills where the fiber is separated from the other materials, then used to make paper products. Or the sorted cartons are sent to recycling companies that use the whole carton to make building materials.

For more information on carton recycling, visit www.recyclecartons.com

Don't Overwash - new project drives sustainable care habits

The Electrolux Group is spreading the word on more sustainable clothing care habits through The Care Label Project, recently launched by its AEG brand along with key partners from the fashion industry. At the heart of the project is a new care label: ‘Don’t Overwash’.

Today, 90% of all clothing is discarded far earlier than needed, and as much as 70% of these are due to faded colors, shrinkage and misshaping. This could be prevented with better care habits.
“Aftercare of clothes has a great impact on both the longevity of clothes and the environment. However, our care habits have not changed in a very long time, even though we now have modern technologies that can prolong the life of our clothes and be more gentle to the environment, if used correctly,” said Henrik Sundström, Vice President Sustainability Affairs at Electrolux. “To change this, we initiated the Care Label Project and are launching the new care label ‘Don’t Overwash.”

In an international study conducted by AEG to map care habits in Europe, more than half of consumers state that they rely on care labels to feel confident when doing their laundry. However, a third find them confusing. In fact, care labels are only suggestions for how to do laundry, and it is established within the fashion industry to understate a fabric’s durability to avoid upsetting customers who accidently ruin their clothes due to the care label’s suggestions.

 ‘Don’t Overwash’ updates old care habits in three main categories; Dry Clean Only, Lower Temperatures and Wash Less. In addition to the new care label, The Care Label Project has created a Modern Care Guide, available on AEG’s website, with up-to-date tips on how to lovingly care for your clothes. Together, the care label and care guide set out to educate consumers and the industry on how to care for their clothes in a modern way that is less damaging for both clothes and environment.

To test the new care label ‘Don’t Overwash’ and the Modern Care Guide, AEG teamed up with 14 up-and-coming designers from across Europe. They are all trying out AEG’s products and updated care habits, in order to themselves test and prove that modern technology can care for the most delicate fabrics in a satisfactory way. Other partners in the project are the Woolmark Company, Fashion Revolution, Not Just A Label (NJAL), adidas, Houdini and Electrolux.

Sustainability is at the core of the Electrolux business strategy, and this campaign supports the company’s sustainability framework, For the Better.  www.electroluxgroup.com

8 Spring Home Maintenance Projects That Will Save You Money

Abby Hayes, freelance blogger and journalist who writes about personal finance for USNews, shares a list of 8 springtime projects that can help save you money…

1. Clean the refrigerator and air conditioner coils. Your fridge and air conditioner work in nearly the same way – by exchanging heat through a system of coils. When those coils are dirty and dusty, they can’t exchange heat as efficiently, so the system has to run harder and longer to have the same cooling effect.

Luckily, cleaning these coils is simple. Just take a vacuum hose to the coils on the back of your fridge. For an outside air conditioner unit, you’ll need to disassemble the casing (making sure the power to the unit is off first), and clean using canned air and/or a stiff brush and spray bottle.

2. Schedule routine heating, ventilation and air conditioning maintenance. Yes, it costs money to get an HVAC professional to look over your system. But routine maintenance costs much less than major fixes down the road. So call and schedule your HVAC maintenance now. To save even more, check websites such as Groupon, Amazon Local and Angie’s List for deals with local HVAC companies.

3. Inspect and repair your roof. Spring is the time to get out on the roof to check for ice, hail or water damage from winter. Repairing minor damage can be a quick do-it-yourself fix, and staying on top of your roof’s condition can save you money by avoiding water damage later on.

4. Clean gutters. This can be a Saturday-long spring chore for many, but it’s important, especially if you live in an area with April showers.

Water doesn’t properly pass through clogged gutters. And that means more water gets near the foundation of your home. This may not cause immediate problems, but over time, too much water near the foundation can cause damage and weakening, which are expensive problems to fix later.

5. Clean the dryer vent. Just like your refrigerator doesn’t work properly with dusty coils, your dryer is less efficient with a lint-filled vent. Even if you clean the lint trap before every load of laundry, you’ll still get some lint in the vent hose, which builds up over time.

To clean the vent, just remove the vent hose from the back of the dryer and vacuum it well. Then, remove the vent cover on the outside of your home, and vacuum it from that side, too.

6. Check the washing machine hoses. Over time, washing machine hoses can crack, which can cause leaks. Sometimes, these inconspicuous leaks go on for weeks or months unnoticed, usually because the washer is pushed back into a corner. This can cause mold problems, water damage and more.

So while you’ve got the dryer pulled out to clean the vent, pull out the washer, too. Check that the hoses are still flexible, and they show no signs of cracking. If they do look worn or cracked, just replace them. It’s an easy fix!

7. Re-caulk windows and doors. You might have caulked your doors and windows before the winter chill set in. Unfortunately, even the best caulk can harden, crack and shrink when it’s cold outside.

So check your windows and doors, and replace as needed. Keeping the hot air out during the summer is just as important as keeping it in during the winter.

8. Plant trees in strategic locations. As you think about landscaping this spring, consider planting a new tree or two. Mother Nature will certainly thank you, and your heating and cooling bills might, too.

If your house gets hit with a lot of sun during the day – which causes the inside to heat up – plant a fast-growing deciduous tree or two on the west, east or northwest side of your home for cooling shade.

And if you noticed wind whistling through the cracks of your home over the winter, an evergreen windbreak on the windiest side of your home might do the trick and block the wind.

Before you plant, make sure you understand how large a tree will grow when it reaches maturity, so you avoid potential costly issues from a tree planted too close to your home.