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Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Welcome to Earth-Info.Net's "EARTH DAY SPECIAL"!

Earth Day is an annual event and this year takes place on Tuesday, April 22nd 2003.

To mark this day many special events have been organised all over the US + a few web campaigns (even a blog!) have launched...

Earth Days were started 33 years ago, by a former US senator called Gaylord Nelson in an attempt "to shake up the political establishment and force [the environment] onto the national agenda" following President J. F. Kennedy's 5 day, 11 state conservation tour in September 1963.

This year's biggest campaign is being organised by the Earth Day Network and involves trying to get 1,000,000 new people to register to vote in an effort to get environmental issues + pledges included in the 2004 election campaign.

Then there is the Dive in to Earth Day 2003 blog which is asking people to help protect the planet's oceans, coral reefs + underwater ecosystems by pledging to support eco-friendly diving.

While the Wilderness Society has put together a beautiful slide show highlighting the need to protect the wilderness and people of Alaska's Arctic Refuge...

Earth-Info.Net likes to be even more low-tech + local... so here are a few extra ideas about how you can make a positive difference in your day-to-day life:

(1) How about buying Fair Trade goods?

Goods such as bananas, coffee + chocolate (yum!) can now be bought from companies that have promised to pay their suppliers in poor countries a fair price, on a regular basis.

This system enables poor communities to plan ahead + invest in their industry + community... it also helps them to protect their environment.

If you don't have access to fair trade goods in your local food or coffee shop why not ask for them?

Here's a list of UK suppliers just in case you need to point anyone in the right direction!

(2) Write a letter to your Prime Minister/President asking them what they are doing about Global Warming or any other issue you think matters !

(3) Re-use, Reduce + Recycle waste in your home, office or business.

At the moment we recycle only 11% of our waste in the UK but it is possible to recycle a staggering 80% if you really go for it + get organised!

(4) Think about using a farmer's market as a way of buying fresh produce + supporting your local community.

Here's a map which will help you to find farmer's markets all over the US.

For people in the UK there's a really good farmer's market in London and more are being set up all the time, as farmers can earn 30% more from their produce by cutting out the middle man!

(5) Share a car to work...

I know this is a radical idea, but it's getting easier + safer to do this thanks to websites such as liftshare.com...

(6) Make your home more energy efficient... and SAVE MONEY!

(7) Set up a bicycle recycling scheme that can reuse long-forgotten bicycles and provide basic employment while helping people to enjoy the outdoors + get healthy!

If all of this sounds like too much hard work then how about sponsoring someone else to do something useful - like providing clean water to people who really need it?Aquaplastics have also offered to donate 10 european cents to Water Aid for every click here. You can find out how the money raised this way will be spent here.

P.S. Well done to Google for their groovy "Martians looking down at the Earth from the Moon" logo on the Google homepage... this is just the kind of support that helps to make things happen

The BBC World Service has launched a highly commendable awareness campaign highlighting the importance of access to clean water + improved sanitation.

Issues covered during this week-long series of programmes include the impacts of people having to walk long distances in order to access water, the effectiveness of rural community projects and some of the different urban problems + solutions.

With 2 million children a year dying of (preventable) diarrhoeal diseases Earth-Info.Net is very glad to see the BBC doing what it can to help inform national + international audiences of the complex issues surrounding access to clean water and also drawing attention to some of the practical measures that can be taken...