By Marianne Walsh
While big-name environmentalists are working diligently to prepare events and awareness for this year’s April 22 Earth Day, many Beverly/Morgan Park residents wonder what they can do locally to contribute to the efforts. Luckily, it turns out that it takes very little work to make a significant contribution in saving the planet.
On Sat., Apr. 22, 9 a.m., BAPA hosts its annual community-wide Clean and Green at locations in every corner of the neighborhood. Sign up via our volunteer portal to join our cleanup team!
Thousands of residents drive past assorted recycling and donation bins on a regular basis, perhaps without even realizing it. St. John Fisher School, 10200 S. Washtenaw, has a large bin in their parking lot for newspapers. St. Barnabas School, 10121 S. Longwood Dr., Christ the King School, 9240 S. Hoyne, and St. Margaret of Scotland School, 9830 S. Vincennes, all have St. Vincent DePaul donation bins for clothes, shoes, linens and purses. For a complete list of drop-off locations, visit the St. Vincent DePaul Chicago website, stvincentdepaulchicago.org.
The Edna White Community Garden, 1850 W. Monterey Ave., utilizes environmentally-friendly techniques and welcomes interested gardeners to stop by and learn their procedures. Their Facebook page — Edna White Community Garden — posts regular tips and special events.
The 19th Ward hosts regular paper shredding and electronic collection events throughout the year. Keep your eyes peeled here at The Villager or visit 19thwardmobile.com for dates. Local residents can also turn in any unused prescription drugs at the 22nd District police station, 1900 W. Monterey Ave., at any time.
In tandem with Earth Day, most local schools engage in special student-driven activities. Gardening, planting new shrubs and flowers and general clean-up events dominate the day. Most schools will have a list of things they might need donated, so be sure to reach out for input.
As spring breakers head out of town this month, one does not need to race out and buy an electric car to avoid feeling guilty about a road trip. Unnecessary acceleration reduces mileage by up to 33%. Properly inflated tires improve gas mileage up to 3%. Avoiding traffic by utilizing driving apps can also significantly reduce time spent on the road. When traveling in warm climates, setting one’s air conditioning in the car to the highest comfortable temperature also saves energy and reduces emissions. And that late night drive-thru fast food fix? If everyone were to decline unnecessary utensils, straws and a heaping pile of extra napkins, the planet would feel it instantly. Much like one’s stomach after that 2 a.m. Big Mac.
It is quite often the little things done in large numbers that have the biggest impact on saving the planet. While solar panels and electric cars still remain out of reach for many working households, simply switching from bottled water to filtered tap can make a world of difference today and tomorrow.
If you’re looking to make a more global impact, the group Environmental Action (which was founded in 1970 when the first Earth Day was celebrated) shares petitions to pressure companies and governments to limit certain practices. These range from utilizing pesticides that decimate the bee population to burning plastic. It only takes about 20 seconds to sign each petition and they are posted on the Environmental Action website, environmental-action.org.