Earth Day is this Friday (April 22). I encourage everyone to reflect on being a good steward of our environment, and recognize the things we can change to make our planet a better place to live.
Earth Day’s founder, Sen. Gaylord Nelson, once said, “Our goal is not just an environment of clean air and water and scenic beauty. The objective is an environment of decency, quality, and mutual respect for all other human beings and all other living creatures.” Sen. Nelson’s hope was that a new culture would be created in the United States that encouraged people to respect our natural resources.
More than 40 years later, his vision is still a success. Across the country, businesses, cities, counties, and individual households are constantly looking for new ways to “go green.” Our local communities are providing activities to help residents get involved:
• Maplewood and North Saint Paul residents are encouraged to take part in “Green Yards – For a sustainable Maplewood & North St. Paul” events. From learning about rain gardens and taking a “Mow-Hi” pledge to green garden tours and rain barrel installation demonstrations, residents have several opportunities to get involved. For more information, visit www.ci.maplewood.mn.us/nc/GREENyard.
• Oakdale has the Generation Green program, which focuses on reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Part of this program includes the Residential Home Energy Loan Program (R-HELP). R-HELP provides residents with a low-interest loan to improve home energy costs on heating system, central air, attic or wall insulation, or water heater improvements. Check out their website at: www.ci.oakdale.mn.us and click on the “Generation Green (Environmental)” link.
• Ramsey County’s website (www.co.ramsey.mn.us) offers an “A to Z Disposal Guide” for information on the safe and responsible disposal of household items. We need to be conscious of what we throw away and what can be recycled, composted, or handled in special ways and this guide provides this necessary information.
• Washington County’s website (www.co.washington.mn.us) offers information on backyard composting options. Composting is an easy way for you to help the environment. By composting, you recycle organic materials, save valuable resources, and reduce the burden on our waste-disposal system. Check out their website for more information.
The way we live affects our world and we need to be aware of the impact we are having. If we all do our part and make every day Earth Day, we can make our planet a better place to live for everyone on it. Livinggreen.org offers tools, resources and events to help Minnesotans live green 365 days a year. Check out their website and learn how to buy green, tend a healthy yard and much more.
As always, please contact me with questions or suggestions about any issue. Please visit my Senate website at senate.mn/senatorwiger. I also encourage you to visit me at the Capitol, or let me know if you’d like me to stop by your home or apartment. Also, please tune in to my local cable TV show, “Your Capitol: What’s Up?” which appears on public access channels 15 and 16.