Make time for Ma Earth

"We kept an eye out all week for a Save the Earth sticker on the bumper of a local SUV - alas, to no avail.So much for our attempt at some easy irony heading into Saturday's observation of Earth Day. But undaunted, we are still inclined to offer a few thoughts on our annual observance devoted to all things green.We are in fact impressed by how far the Earth Day program has come since its inception in 1970, when student leader Denis Hayes and Wisconsin Sen. Gaylord Nelson took up the ecology banner for the first organized event. Since then, we've seen federal legislation promoting clean air and water and protecting endangered species. Earth Day is now international in scope, an annual wake-up call for citizens both global and local about the incremental impact of everyday choices in consumerism, transportation and resource use.Think Earth Day hasn't had an effect on Bainbridge Island? The cleanup of the Wyckoff creosote plant property and other Eagle Harbor pollutants is a direct result of Hayes' first rally in 1970, an event that spurred creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. Even as you read this, city and county officials are hammering out strategies to protect the region's waning salmon resource, in response to a recent federal mandate for species preservation.The national focus of Earth Day 2000 is Clean Energy Now, with organizers calling for a switch from smog-producing fossil fuels to alternative energy sources - clean cars, clean power, clean air and clean investments is their mantra. Bainbridge activists are taking a different tack, enlisting brigades of folk to clear English ivy from local trees this weekend. Others will simply pick up roadside garbage, or maybe plant a few trees. Each cause is worthy and worth the time.So we urge islanders to take a few hours to get involved this weekend, and send a mother's day card to the planet. Call the park district at 842-2306 to find out what's going on and how you can help.Because each individual act has an impact, it is clear to us that every day is really Earth Day. But with the variety of community events that are planned, you can really make your mark this weekend, Bainbridge.Footnote: We were interested to learn this week that Denis Hayes is still around, and we read on the Internet that for Earth Day 2000, he's urging SUV owners (hello, Bainbridge?) to trade in their big gas-guzzler for a one of the new mass-production gas-electric cars.The Toyota Prius and Honda Insight (and we should note here that we don't have a financial interest in either company) are said to exceed federal pollution standards by 86 percent and get a whopping 60-70 miles per gallon, earning plaudits for environmental engineering. Plus, you don't have to recharge the battery all the time like you did with those first-generation electric cars that, um, went nowhere. It seems the battery charges up as you drive - now there's a concept.A few years back, the Review did a feature story on the first of the new VW Bug automobiles to show up on the island, and as cutural phenomena go, this strikes us as equally worthy of note.Anybody out there driving an Prius or an Insight yet? Give us a call, and we'll come out with camera and notepad in hand to take a look."

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