Bringing the Global Home: “A Billion Acts of Green”

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Tompkins Weekly – March 29, 2010
By Patricia Haines

When Senator Gaylord Nelson called for a nation-wide environmental rally in 1970, he had no idea that 40 years later Earth Day would be a week-long global celebration involving millions. Or even billions: as of March this year, nearly 16 million groups have already signed up for the April 17 and 18 Global Days of Service, answering the Earth Day Network’s call for a billion acts of green.

In addition to the Service Days, April 22nd will see a Global Day of Conversation for elected officials all over the world to review, and repledge, to address sustainability issues through concrete action plans. The King of Morocco, for example, will that day announce a National Charter for Environment and Sustainable Development, the first of its kind in Africa and the Arab world. And on Sunday, April 25th, environmental activists from across the U.S. will come together on the National Mall in Washington, DC for a day-long Climate Rally.

The Center for Environmental Sustainability, host for Earth Day Ithaca for the past 12 years, is bringing the global celebration home in two simple ways. First, we hope that area families, businesses, schools, churches and community groups will join with us to make the weekend of April 17 and 18 our own Local Days of Service. Second, we invite everyone to a 40th Anniversary party on Saturday, April 24th, at the Southside Community Center in downtown Ithaca.

For April 17 and 18, we invite you to create your own weekend project – clean up a nearby playground or street; take a garbage bag with you when you hike one of Six Mile Creek’s lovely trails – you’ll be astonished at how fast it fills up. Help an elderly neighbor get a garden ready for planting; or volunteer with the Ithaca Children’s Garden, Hangar Theatre or other organization to get the grounds ready for Spring. Organize a neighborhood pledge drive for replacing plastic grocery bags with recyclables. Have a ‘green happy hour’ in your home or restaurant. Join with the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network to clean up your local creek. Whether small or large, it all adds up and makes a difference.

And let us know what you’re up to so that we can add your story to those billion acts of green. If you’d like some help finding a service project, let us know, and we’ll connect you with someone in need.

That week you can also take in activities on the campuses and in the community. Ithaca College will be hosting the Executive Director of Greenpeace, a showing of the film 11th Hour, a talk on Native American environmentalism – and more . Cornell’s Sustainability Month is replete with public lectures, demonstrations, and other events engaging energy, climate, agriculture, rural sustainable development, children’s health and other issues . In addition to an April 22nd Earth Day evening lecture, the Museum of the Earth is hosting a Saturday, April 24th day of Earth-centric activities for all ages, including release of their new book on global climate change (>.

The Big Party on Saturday, April 24th at the Southside Community Center will have something for everyone – a costume Parade for the Earth, family bike ride, local foods feast, and sharing stories about what “Earth Day” means in our daily lives, right here at home. Come take your turn at drumming the heartbeat of the Earth. And celebrate sustainable community by breaking bread together. Simple. Home.

Watch for details in the local press, or check CES-ITHACA for updates. Your ideas for service projects – or needs – are welcome at . If you’d like to join one of the many creek clean-ups, contact the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network . To get a sense of what “billion acts of green” are emerging all over the world, or to register your own, check out Billion Acts of Green online. After it’s all over, and all the votes are counted, we’ll let you know how it adds up. It will be a lot – and you can make it happen right here at home.

LEVEL GREEN – fostering sustainable community through collaborative initiatives in hospitality, education and the arts, in the 150 year-old democratic spirit of the Danish Folk School:
1519 Slaterville Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
ph (607) 339-9472

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