Friday April 26, 2013

If the official Earth Day on Monday didn’t inspire you to get outside and try to make things greener, you haven’t missed your chance.

There will be another opportunity to show the Earth you care this Saturday, which is also known as Youth Appreciation Day in Bennington following a proclamation by the Bennington Select Board earlier this week.

Saturday’s day of service for all ages coincides with National Volunteer Week and is a part of Global Youth Service Day. Volunteers will be issued gloves and bags to pick up trash and spruce up storefronts downtown and landscape parts of the River Walk area.

Those who participate are encouraged to wear green and white on Saturday, which organizers are billing as an early Green Up Day event.

"It’s a great time to celebrate the youth, but also the whole community of Bennington," AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer Nicole Rau told The Banner. Rau is one of two VISTA volunteers, along with Veronica Ariel, helping to organize the event with high school youth ambassadors from the Alliance for Community Transformations at Southwestern Vermont Health Care.

The day will culminate in a celebration, complete with food and a seven-piece band from Bennington College, outside the Town of Bennington offices. For more details on how to register, see the article on page 1.

There’s also another opportunity to be part of a large group cleanup effort coming up next week. Vermont’s Green Up Day is slated for Saturday, May 4. Sponsored by the nonprofit Green Up Vermont, the Bennington effort is being coordinated by the Bennington Town Office. If you would like to clean an area, street, or neighborhood near you, call the town office at 442-1037 to let town personnel know where to facilitate bag pickup. Green Up bags are to be available for pickup at the town office this week. See Page 2 for more information.

Shaftsbury residents are invited to gather at Cole Hall/Town Garage between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Green Up Day, May 4. Residents may exchange filled Green Up bags for refreshments. To adopt a neighborhood or road, contact Karen Mellinger at 447-1950. See Page 2 for more information.

Additionally, here are some tips from the Huffington Post to make every day Earth Day:

* Go meatless

* Join a beach or park cleanup with groups (like the ones mentioned above)

* Plant a tree -- visit the Arbor Day site for more information

* If you have kids, print out a calendar and draw a green star for each day that you do an activity that helps the earth.

* Get your green thumb dirty and start a garden. While you’re at it, start a compost pile.

* Turn trash into treasure. Refurbish an old sofa, chair or even a garment.

* Park your car. Spend the day walking or biking to the places you need to go. If you’re heading somewhere that’s a bit far, try public transportation.

* Green Spring Clean. Swap your bulbs for energy efficient CFL’s, clean your house with eco alternative products, upcycle and or donate unwanted clothing and household items, etc.

* Cook up a local, organic meal and serve up some organic cocktails.

Here are two more easy suggestions:

* If your office doesn’t recycle, take your bottles, cans, yogurt containers and frozen food entree pans home with you to put in your recycling bin.

* Take a bag and possibly some gloves with you on your daily walk or run and pick up recyclables and/or that have been tossed from vehicles.

Anything, big or small, that you can do to make a difference in your environment helps.

Noted sociologist Marshall McLuhan summed it up well:

"There are no passengers on spaceship earth. We are all crew."

~Michelle Karas