The beautiful spring weather entices me to walk outside and away from the computer every now and again. In doing so one thing that I cannot understand in Ponoka is the amount of litter and cigarette butts that are accumulating on our streets. It seems that with the new smoking ban there are even more cigarette butts on some streets since before it was put in place. Business owners are doing their part by putting ashtrays outside but it seems no one is really using them. It only takes a few moments to put your cup in the garbage or butt out into an ashtray, this is our earth and we really need to take better care of it. It is the small things that can really make a difference.
Earth Day is on April 22 and according to the Earth Day Canada website it is the largest and most celebrated environmental event worldwide. More than six million Canadians join 500 million people in over 180 countries in staging events and projects to address environmental issues and nearly every school child in Canada takes part in an Earth Day activity. Students in Ponoka will also be hitting the schoolyard to help tidy up and each one of them will make a difference.
According to Earthday.ca the first Earth Day was launched in the United States in 1970 and in 1990 two million Canadians joined 200 million people in 141 nations to celebrate the first International Earth Day. The event brought pressure on heads of state to take part in the United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
In the last ten years it seems that environmental issues have come to the forefront in mainstream news and other forms of media compared to the early ‘Hippie’ movement.
Former American vice-president Al Gore won a Nobel Prize for his work to raise awareness on global warming including his movie ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. Leonardo DiCaprio and Edward Norton are members of Global Green’s board of directors and have been lobbying the state legislature on behalf of green-friendly initiatives and have even arrived at such events as the Academy Awards in energy-efficient vehicles. DiCaprio also recently bought an eco-friendly New York condo and continues to spread the green message according to MSNBC. More and more celebrities are using their star power to spread social activism programs by trying to use this power to get people motivated and excited about the green movement.
In Ponoka there are a lot of great initiatives to help the community be eco-friendly. The Town of Ponoka launched a new program last year to hand out refunds to people who have energy efficient low flush toilets. Ponoka has a great recycling program for people to use at no charge to those who utilize the program. The local 4-H clubs recently handed out energy efficient light bulbs to members of the community going door to door. Recycling also means taking care of the buildings that we have to use in our community. This includes buildings, such as the local high schools, that many members of the community use and would be lost without. It is our responsibility as a community to take care of our resources because in the future they might not be around for us anymore. Alberta has a lot of great natural resources including fresh water, national parks, towering mountains and beautiful historic buildings. As citizens of the earth we need to take hold of the land that will be inherited to our children and our children’s children and take care of it. When you’re walking down the street take the time to pick up a piece of stray garbage and put it in the nearest garbage bin (Don’t use our environment as one!) if you don’t do it who will? Happy Earth Day.