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Earth Day: busy and green

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Called by the spring weather, Yellow Springs is organizing a weekend of events to get people thinking about how to respect the planet in honor of Earth Day coming up on April 22. The focus? Garbage! And energy! And compact fluorescent lightbulbs! Beginning with a screening of the documentary Garbage! The Revolution Starts at Home, at the Little Art Theatre, and continuing with a panel discussion on renewable energy and an Earth Day poster contest for local youth, the weekend of April 19 will teem with information and reminders of how Yellow Springs can do its part to preserve the natural world.

Of particular interest to villagers seeking renewable energy to power their household utilities is Saturday’s panel discussion moderated by the Yellow Springs Environmental Commission entitled, “Death of the Incandescent.” The panel will begin with a presentation by local resident Bob Brecha on how to reduce energy consumption for the average household. C.J. Williams, co-owner of the Living Green shop, will talk about the use of compact fluorescent lightbulbs, and local resident Donna Haller will talk about her business recycling fluorescent bulbs, batteries and computer equipment. And YSEC members Bob Moore and Eli Hurwitz will also be available to educate about the Village’s Green Pricing program.

The goal is to reduce reliance on carbon producing energy sources first by reducing energy consumption altogether, Moore said. Compact fluorescent lightbulbs use about a third of the energy as incandescent lightbulbs, and they last longer and can be recycled, which means less trash for the landfills, he said. After reducing consumption, the next goal is to use only renewable sources for household power, Moore said.

Through her business Gem City Environmental Recycling, Haller recycles mainly for small businesses in the region, but she has helped to establish drop-off points at Downing’s Do It Best hardware and the Living Green store downtown where villagers can recycle their fluorescent bulbs free of charge, she said. Everything in the bulbs, plastic, metal, glass and even the mercury, is separated and reused to make other products, she said.

“A lot of people think CFLs are harmful because of the mercury in them, but it takes more mercury in the power plant to burn an incandescent bulb, and that isn’t being recycled,” Haller said. “We’re trying to educate villagers about why they should use fluorescents and we also want to make it easy to recycle them.”

Preceding the panel will be a reception with wine and cheese provided by the Emporium and the screening of the film Garbage! The Revolution, by Andrew Nisker, who documents the accumulation of waste in an average American household over a three-month period and then follows the trail of trash to see where it ends up and how it affects the earth.

Owning a store that sells recycled and energy-efficiency products, Williams was interested in getting youth to celebrate Earth Day through a poster contest. In conjunction with Priscilla Moore and Pam Hogarty, she invites Yellow Springs youth to submit Earth Day posters, 28″ x 22″, that speak to the theme: “Love your village—lose the litter.” Posters will be judged in three categories: first-fourth graders, fifth–eighth graders and ninth–12th graders. Posters must be submitted to either Mr. Fub’s Party, Unfinished Creations or Living Green by Thursday, April 17, and a winner from each category will receive gift prizes at 11 a.m. on April 19 at Unfinished Creations.

Getting closer to Earth Day, on Sunday, April 20, Glen Helen will celebrate the earth with a wildflower class and walk led by Macy Reynolds and Alice McKinney at noon, beginning at the Glen Helen Building. And at 2 p.m. the Raptor Center will host an Earth Day release of a red tailed hawk that has been rehabilitated over the winter and is ready to begin the spring hunt. Raptor Center Bette Ross will have other raptors out for visiting and education.

Especially if it’s a nice day on Saturday, Williams said, look downtown or at Mills Lawn for street musicians and artists who may be inspired by the sun to join in the local celebration of the earth.

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