BY MARY GARRISON
West Point residents are doing their part to commemorate Earth Day, every day.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website (www.epa.gov ), Earth Day found its origins in 1970, introduced by Sen. Gaylord Nelson (D-Wis.) to bring environmental protection issues into the collective consciousness and, more importantly, into the national political agenda. Nelson employed a staff of experienced activists to initiate a grassroots movement in small towns and communities throughout the U.S. The approach worked, according to the site, with some 20 million participants in its first year.
Since then, the country has seen the inception of the EPA as well as several significant legislative motions geared toward environmental protection, including the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. Earth Day itself has taken on a life of its own, with residents throughout the country observing April 22 in a number of ways.
West Point residents and community leaders are no exception. Ivey and Ken Ivy of West Point try to make it a general practice to live harmoniously with their environment. The couple has worked to recycle whenever possible for more than 10 years, according to Ivey, and also maintain their own compost and burn additional household trash. In honor of Earth Day, Ivey said she’d discussed taking her two small daughters, 5-year-old Day and 2-year-old Wren, out to one of the city’s parks to pick up trash, weather and time permitting.
“I’m hoping that they’re picking up on things (we do to better the environment) as they grow,” Ivey said of her children. “But it’s hard to fight consumerism. The ‘I want a new this or a new that’ mentality is everywhere.”
Ivey said she tries to stress the importance of producing as little waste as possible. The family avoids using plastic materials — opting instead to find the goods they need in recyclables whenever possible or reusable containers. Ivey said she tries to find containers of stainless steel or glass so that she may reuse them continuously.
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