Earth Day 2009 celebrated around the globe

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Unofficial Earth Day flag, by John McConnell: the Blue Marble on a blue background.

Today is the 39th observance of Earth Day in the northern hemisphere. Earth day is celebrated in Autumn on November 30 in the southern hemisphere. Senator Gaylord Nelson initiated the first Earth Day in April 1970 in the United States, and it is now celebrated by over 1 billion people in over 170 countries worldwide. Earth Day is the biggest environmental event which addresses issues and educates people on environmental awareness on a global scale.

This year, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will beam high-definition images to the NASA website and television. By doing so, NASA hopes to increase appreciation of global climate issues. There will also be a Washington exhibit relating to environmental issues viewed from space as well.

At the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center activities will focus on their slogan for Earth Day 2009, "Just One Drop ... PRICELESS" and will demonstrate how the Environmental Control Life Support System operates as used on the International Space Staton (ISS).

Amongst the many festivals, WorldFest is a solar powered music celebration held in Los Angeles, California. Buenos Aires will also feature its second Earth Day event featuring a music festival as well.

"We are in a new era of energy innovation," said Daniel Yergin at a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) forum. Lithium-ion batteries are providing electric storage solutions for electric cars such as the Chevrolet Volt and the Dodge Circuit EV. Algae fuel is a new form of biofuel, but is still under development.

"Energy Smackdown" was a competitive household activity which compared energy usage between 60 separate households across three cities in or near Boston. The various competitors came up with a variety of innovative methods to cut their carbon footprint, installing solar electric panels, geothermal heat pumps, wind turbines, and using a caulking gun to seal the home from drafts.

"In the average home, 75 percent of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off." is a United States Department of Energy (DOE) estimate.

Miami is installing a smart grid which will use individual household smart meters to allow energy consumers know via a web site, their exact home energy usage. "To me these are prudent and smart investments that will easily pay for themselves. It will show the nation how to address environmental, energy, and economic challenges all at the same time." said Miami mayor Manny Diaz.

Cal Dooley, CEO of the American Chemistry Council ACC, says the plastic bag industry is prepared to spend US$50 million to revamp their manufacturing facilities and will collect 470 million pounds of recycled plastic every year to make plastic bags of 40% recycled content. The ACC is providing a donation to the Keep America Beautiful environmental organisation, both of whom endorse this new project. The Earth Day Network (EDN) and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) would like to see an end to the use of plastic bags, however. "We don't want people to use disposable bags. We want people to use reusable bags," says Darby Hoover of the NRDC.

Calgary researchers will begin field surveys to help save the "Northern Leopard Frog (Rana Pipiens). "Northern Leopard Frogs are threatened in Alberta, but endangered in British Columbia," said Dr. Des Smith, Primary Investigator and Research Scientist with the Calgary Zoo's Centre for Conservation Research. "It is essential to develop new monitoring techniques for Northern Leopard" said Breana McKnight, Field Team Leader and Endangered Species Researcher.

The traditional Earth day ceremony of planting trees is garnering further attention in Japan as Koichi Nakatani, the nation's Tree Planting Father travels from Hokkaido to Okinawa.

Students can take part in an Earth Day photo contest sponsored by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies which will feature images and scientific student research for the environmental change depicted in each photo submitted.

“Earth Day should be about teaching about the environment every day,” said Sean Mille director of education for EDN, “We emphasize taking action for your classroom, school, district or community." 25,000 schools across America made use of the environmental curriculum developed by the National Civic Education Project, the Green Schools Campaign and the Educator’s Network. Lesson plans are broad and varied and may focus on water pollution, recycling, composting, using chemistry to convert cafeteria left-overs into biodiesel or ethanol fuel or converting go-carts to operate on biodiesel or ethanol fuels in shop class.


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Sources

Wikipedia Learn more about Earth Day on Wikipedia.

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