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Earth Day is a green opportunity
TRI-COUNTY AREA—For 40 years, Earth Day has been an opportunity for people to protect and learn about the environment.
Earth Day was started in 1970, by Wisconsin Sen. Gaylord Nelson. Since then, it has become a day celebrated worldwide. This year, Earth Day is April 22. Earth Week is also April 16 to 22.
Earth Day offers people the chance to be more aware about the environment and how we impact it. Most people may know about using florescent light bulbs, composting, and walking/riding a bike as opposed to driving. However, there are other ways people can be more green this April 22, and maybe continue those practices for more than an Earth Day or Earth Week. The following are suggestions from the Worldwatch Institute, Care2, and Green News.
Showers can be relaxing, but shorter showers reduce both water and heating bills.
Low-flow showerheads can also help reduce water use. For faucets, try installing a faucet aerator. This small device helps conserve heat and water, and can cost around $10.
Like having a rain garden, try also planting drought-tolerant plants outside as they require less watering.
Setting the thermostat a few degrees lower in the winter and also a little higher in the summer can save on heating and cooling costs.
Wash clothes in cold water when possible. According to the Worldwatch Institute, when using machine washers, as much as 85 percent of the energy is used to heat the water. Also dry clothing on a rack or clotheslines to save energy.
Buying in bulk saves money and cuts down on packaging.
Avoid buying bottled water. Instead, purify tap water. Bottled water is more expensive and leaves the plastic bottles afterwards. Buy a reusable water bottle.
For food, try buying local raised, humane and organic. This is something a lot easier to do in the Finger Lakes than in most areas.
Avoid products with parabens (methylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben or butylparaben) as much as possible. These preservatives are used in deodorants and cosmetics.
Borrow movies and books instead of buying. According to Worldwatch Institute, this cuts down on trees being used for the products and saves money in general.
Pay as many bills online to cut down on paper and mail.
Do an energy audit, by visiting here.
Organize or participate in a local clean-up.
Worldwatch Institute also offers some homemade cleaning options that are more environmentally friendly. Stock up on a few safe, simple ingredients that can be used in most cleaning situations. Soap, water, baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, borax and a coarse scrubbing sponge can take care of most household cleaning needs.
• Instead of using a standard drain cleaner, which likely contains lye, hydrochloric acid and sulfuric acid, try pouring a quarter cup of baking soda down the clogged drain, followed by a half cup of vinegar. Close the drain tightly until fizzing stops, then flush with boiling water.
• For an effective glass cleaner, use a mixture of half white vinegar and half water.
• Baking soda and cornstarch are both good carpet deodorizers.
• To clean up mildew and mold, use a mixture of lemon juice or white vinegar and salt.
• A paste of baking soda, salt, and hot water makes a great oven cleaner.
• In the rare instance you need to use a hazardous product, use as little as possible and dispose of it in a way that will cause minimum harm—for example, by bringing it to a hazardous waste recycling or treatment center.
For more on how you can live greener by a lake, view The Observer Green Lake Living Guide here.
There are also a number of events, clean-ups and Earth Day related fairs scheduled for Thursday, and the near future.
The Yates County Chamber of Commerce will be hold its second annual Earth Day electronics collection, April 22, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will take place at the Yates County Visitor’s Center, 2375 Route 14A, Penn Yan. At this event, community members will be able to dispose of electronic waste including monitors, computers, printers, fax machines, typewriters, cell phones, televisions and a host of other electronic equipment.
Most items will be accepted free of charge. However, televisions, monitors and other large items will have a $10 recycling fee. In addition to the recycling event, the chamber expects to have a variety of other “green” activities and information. For more, call 315-536-3111.
Children are invited to the Dundee Public Library at 4 p.m. to make bird feeders for Earth Day. Those in attendance will also learn about the importance of recycling.
Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva has planned a number of events around Earth Day.
On April 25, the Finger Lakes Institute in Geneva will hold a cleanup of its demonstration rain garden. The event starts at 9 a.m. After it survived its first winter season, volunteers will maintain the garden by installing an interpretive sign, replenishing mulch, raking leaves and more. Volunteers are encouraged to wear closed toed shoes and work gloves. Garden and hand tools will be provided by Hobart and William Smith Buildings and Grounds in addition to a lunch.
The event is free, but registration is required. To do so, contact Meyer at 315-781-4382 or e-mailing
There will also be a sustainable picnic Sunday at noon on the Quad (rain location is the Barn). Local food will be served. Revision and other student bands, cosponsored with HWS Live, will perform.
The Schuyler County Emergency Management Council and participating agencies will not be holding their regular, yearly Earth Day festival this year.  Instead, the EMC will be planting lilac trees at the Seneca View Skilled Nursing Facility, April 22.  It is scheduled to start at 4 p.m.  Jenna Hicks, environmental science educator for Schuyler County Cornell Cooperative Extension, explained the plan is to build a butterfly garden at the nursing facility over the years.
Hicks added posters made by area elementary and high school students for Earth Day will be displayed around the county.  She said they are working on finding locations for the pieces.
Corning Community College is hosting an Earth Day Fair, Thursday, April 22.  it will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Triangle Lounge, Commons Building, Spencer Hill Campus, Corning. The event will feature environmentally friendly organizations that are right here in the Southern Tier.  For more, contact Dr. Donna Moore Powers at 607-962-9375 or
Corning Community College is also holding its second annual ECOfest, E-Scrap Drive, and Raptor Project.  It will include two performances by Jonathan Wood's The Raptor Project on Saturday, April 24, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Commons Building, Spencer Hill Campus, Corning.
The ECOfest and E-Scrap Drive will have vendors, activities, eco-games, displays, and prizes. Save your old electronic items for the electronic-scrap drive.  Don’t throw them in the garbage - bring them to the drive to be recycled and properly scrapped.  For more, contact Nancy Agan at 607-962-9507. Events are also listed on the Web at

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