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Base gears up for Earth Day

(U.S. Air Force Graphic)

(U.S. Air Force Graphic)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- On April 22, more than one billion people around the globe will participate in Earth Day 2012 and help "Mobilize the Earth." People of all nationalities and backgrounds will voice their appreciation for the planet and demand its protection. Together the Air Force will stand united for a sustainable future and call upon individuals, organizations and governments to do their part.

In 1970 war raged in Vietnam, and students nationwide increasingly opposed it. It was a year that included the hippie and flower-child culture in the United States, the death of Jimi Hendrix, the last Beatles' album, and Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge over Troubled Water." Protests were the order of the day, but saving the planet was not the cause.

At the time, Americans were slurping leaded gas through massive V8 sedans. Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of legal consequences or bad press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity. "Environment" was a word that appeared more often in spelling bees than on the evening news.

The idea to raise environmental awareness came to Earth Day founder Sen. Gaylord Nelson, from Wisconsin, who was inspired by the student anti-war movement. He realized that if he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. He enlisted support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. About 20 million people took to the streets that first Earth Day.

Since then the United States - and Peterson AFB - has come a long way towards conservation. Officials regulate and monitor pesticides and herbicides used on base to prevent contamination of the ground water and removal of desirable plant and animal species. The base is also required to monitor air emissions from generators to not add to particulates in the air, and the installation limits its generator usage to prevent air pollution.

To continue the tradition of doing something for our environment Peterson Air Force Base will celebrate Earth Day 2012 on April 26. Activities include:

8 a.m. - Clean-up of Powers Blvd. The Peterson AFB fire department will lead volunteers to clean up trash and debris along Powers Boulevard. Contact Tech. Sgt. Jerry Reynolds at 556-9173 for information.

10:30 a.m. - Arbor Day celebration. Be at the new Child Development Center building at Pete East for a tree planting. Join kids from the CDC and Colorado Department of Forestry to celebrate planting trees for the planet.

11 a.m. to 2 p.m. - Free electronic waste turn in. Join Blue Star Recycling in turning in your old televisions, stereos, telephones, computers, and small appliances at the BX parking lot at no cost.

11 a.m. to 2 p.m. - Energy and Environmental information booth outside the BX food court. Visit the booth and learn more about the environment, enter drawings for recycled give-aways and say hello to Pete Lite.

3 p.m. to 4 p.m. - Visit the green roof on Building 845 and help revitalize the plants with your green thumb. Volunteers are needed to fertilize, help rejuvenate the soil and prepare the plants for spring. Contact Phil Chase at 556-7707 for information.

Earth Day activities continue April 28:

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. -- National Take-Back Initiative, west gate parking lot. The Drug Enforcement Administration is scheduling a National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day of unwanted or expired medications for safe and proper disposal. Contact Wanda Burns at 556-7328 for information.

10 a.m. to noon. -- Tierra Vista Communities housing clean up. Families meet at the skate park. The first hour families will be given trash bags and gloves and sent out to assigned streets to pick up trash. The second hour they can return for food, drinks, treats and games. Contact Nicki Kumfer at 597-7200 for information.

In addition, from April 24-26, Peterson AFB is converting to a single stream recycling system. Buildings 1, 3, 1324 and 2025 will have one dumpster for all recyclables making recycling even easier.

Even seemingly small changes can have a large impact. Help prevent pollution by minimizing waste. Air Force officials emphasize there is always more that can be done, and it takes a concerted effort from all members of the team.

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