Cameron community to celebrate Earth Day

By Krista Allen
Navajo Times

CAMERON, Ariz., April 11, 2013

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(Times photo – Krista Allen)

Cameron transfer station attendant Randall Beard illustrated his idea for an upside down plant holder using an empty jug.

W hen the U.S. was convulsed over the Vietnam War in the early '60s, Americans were becoming aware of the effects of pollution on Mother Nature.

At that time, protecting the planet's natural resources was not part of the national political agenda. Factories pumped pollutants into the air, lakes, and rivers with few legal consequences. Even the word "environment" popped up more in spelling bees than on the evening news.

The U.S. became eco-aware in 1969 when the Union Oil Co. platform stationed six miles off the coast of Summerland in Santa Barbara, Calif. suffered a blowout on Jan. 29, 1969.

Americans began to focus more on environment threats when floating pieces of oil-slicked debris were ignited on the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio by sparks caused by a passing train on April 22.

Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin at the time, channeled the energy of the anti-war protest movement and put environmental concerns front and center.

Then he proposed his idea for a national environmental "teach-in" to the national media and persuaded Congressman Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican, to serve as his co-chair as he also recruited environmental activist Denis Hayes, a proponent of solar power, as national coordinator.

Twenty million people took to the auditoriums, parks, and streets on April 22, 1970 to rally for a healthy, sustainable environment across the country.

While the fight for a clean environment still continues today, Earth Day is celebrated every year on April 22 to honor the achievements of the environmental movement and to raise awareness of the need to protect Earth's natural resources.

Earth Day celebrations have grown to territories like the Navajo Nation.

The Cameron Community for Progressive Action (CCPA), a nonprofit organization, will introduce the first Hózh?? k'é Earth Day event on April 27 to encourage people to recycle.

CCPA member Marilyn Reed says aside from stolen chapter money and a chapter house shutdown, Cameron Chapter has a transfer station issue that is causing an environmental impact on the community.

"People are taking, to the transfer station, tires and (other materials that aren't recycled)," Reed said. "I don't think there's a real understanding of what the whole recycling (of materials) is about."

Basically, recycling is the action of collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be thrown away as trash and turning them into usable raw materials to make other products.

"We want to really figure out a way to be able to recycle what we have and also to maintain that transfer station until we put it in a different location," Reed continued.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the first step in the recycling process is to collect substances or objects to be recycled, which the CCPA is now doing.

The CCPA last week selected chapter transfer station attendant Randall Beard to provide ideas for repurposing plastics.

"We're trying to get everybody into it," Beard said adding that people can make plant holders using empty jugs, which he is working on.

Among his ideas include an upside planter thanks to the ubiquity of Topsy Turvy planters, which are advertised on TV and have well-known placement at retailers like Walmart.

According to the Bureau of International Recycling, a global recycling industry association, approximately 1.6 million people worldwide are active in the recycling industry.

"We'd like to let other communities know that this is an initiative that a community could take on that could bring some life back," Reed said. "We're trying to really focus on enlightening and educating our community in terms of keeping it pristine and beautiful—that's the goal."

To mark the occasion, the CCPA in collaboration with Cameron Chapter and Cameron Environmental and Preservation Society unveiled its comprehensive lineup of Earth Day activities designed to educate families about recycling.

The Hózh?? k'é Earth Day will feature demonstrations and presentations dedicated to protecting public health and the environment.

Additional activities include a fundraising function on the 13th, a trash cleanup on the 20th, and a community fun walk on the 26th.

Information: Cameron Chapter, 928-679-2323