April 22, 2009


By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

On Wednesday, April 22, people in America and around the world will be joining in the annual celebration of Earth Day. Now in its 39th year, Earth Day is a chance for everyone to do what they can to protect our planet, Earth, and to work towards ensuring that we have a healthy and sustainable environment.
Whether or not you believe in global warming, or if it is right to clear cut the rain forests to produce food, or if we are over-fishing the Earth’s oceans, no one can argue that mankind is not radically changing the face of this planet that we call home.
We must also accept the fact Earth, in all of its bounty, still has finite resources. How we, as humans, choose to use the resources of this planet will ultimately determine how long the planet will be able to sustain us and the way that we live.
Individually, we cannot alter the warming of the Earth or slow  down the melting of the polar icecaps. But there are many things that we can choose to do daily, that if done by the entire world population, would  make huge changes in our environment.
Here are just a few ideas that each of us can do to help make our planet healthier.
• Just say no to paper and plastic. Put those cloth bags on the front seat of your car so you remember to take them into the store with you.
• Stop buying anything made of Styrofoam. Switch to paper products (recycled if possible).
• Replace the next light bulb that burns out with a CFL bulb.
• If possible, walk or bike to work at least once per week.
• Use cold water to wash your laundry; 90% of energy used during a wash cycle is to heat the water.
• Hang your laundry on a clothesline to dry; if you don’t have room for one, buy a portable drying rack for indoor and outdoor use.
• Make a phone call and ask to be removed from a junk mail list.
• Plant a tree, shrub or perennial flower bulbs.
• If you don’t recycle, start. In Watford City, take your aluminum cans to the Rotary Recyling dumpster. And don’t forget to haul your grass clippings, tree branches and garden waste to the compost site. Both sites are located east of the football field.
• Don’t buy bottled water. Bring your own refillable bottle from home.
• If you love coffee and espresso, keep a travel mug in your car to use instead of disposable cups.
• Before you throw something away, ask yourself ‘can this be recycled’ or ‘could someone else use this?’ Recycle, donate or have a yard sale.
• Turn the water off while you are brushing your teeth.
• Use cloth napkins.
• Next time you replace an appliance, be sure to buy an Energy Star brand.
• Get outside and enjoy the beauty of the natural world.