Editorial Roundup: People should make every day an Earth Day

Published 8:50 pm Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Like every observance on the calendar, marking Earth Day, occurring today, is a tradition to some and ignored by others.

Missing the 53rd annual designated day — started because of a California coast oil spill — is not that big of a deal. Doing what we can to protect the environment every day is a much bigger deal.

Earth is in more trouble than ever. Science proves so, along with the obvious evidence we see every day in our extreme weather, degrading shorelines and vanishing species.

We are lucky in this region to have community organizers and leaders who recognize the vision and long-term action needed to protect our home.

Longtime environmentalist Scott Sparlin, executive director of the Coalition for a Clean Minnesota River will, in fact, be updating folks tonight at the Blue Boat bar about efforts to establish a new water storage initiative that just received $5 million from the state Legislature.

The funding may be new, but Sparlin’s and others’ efforts to protect and clean up Minnesota waters by controlling runoff and erosion have been ongoing for decades.

Another well-organized local effort was launched by three women who started the Mankato Area Zero Waste program.

In persuading the Mankato and North Mankato city councils to try organics recycling drop-off sites, Betty Winkworth, Jane Dow and Katy Wortel agreed to staff them every Saturday for a year, digging through people’s bags of food waste to show them what could and couldn’t be composted. Uneaten food, bones, eggshells and vegetable peels are all compostable, along with pizza boxes, paper egg cartons and many of the paper and cardboard containers fast food comes in.

If you don’t yet compost, consider this fact from the Zero Waste team: The methane released from food scraps decomposing in the absence of oxygen in landfills is the third biggest contributor to climate change.

The trio’s persistence means that after seven years, an organics recycling drop-off program exists that sets Mankato, North Mankato and Lake Crystal environmentally ahead of most cities.

Zero Waste also expanded efforts to get households and businesses to recycle more plastic wrapping and bags, including the enormous amount of wrap around shipping pallets. To mark that accomplishment, a bench made of the recycled plastic was unveiled Thursday at the Mankato Clinic.

The work of all the local activists who focus on environmental initiatives means nothing if people and businesses don’t support and participate in the efforts.

Setting aside one day to note how valuable Earth is will not fix it. But using today to build the awareness and rev up the action that will protect tomorrow does matter.

Mankato Free Press, April 22

About Editorial Roundup

Editorials from newspapers around the state of Minnesota.

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