We only get one environment

Monday was Earth Day 2019, and residents in the Midcoast have shown their interest in promoting a healthy environment with cleanup efforts and by voting in bans on single-use plastic bags in some of our local municipalities. In addition, in this week's paper is a story about a bill sponsored by Rep. S. Paige Zeigler of Montville to ban polystyrene statewide — as the City Council has done in Belfast.

But, of course, much more needs to be done.

To simply celebrate the environment once a year at this point would be like someone with serious illnesses congratulating themselves for participating in the Great American Smokeout one day a year. Every day needs to be Earth Day.

You can act with your votes, supporting candidates and ballot items that are good for the environment. You can vote with your dollars, supporting businesses that operate in a sustainable way. You can help by raising your voice to promote truth over misinformation. And you can participate in community events that make the city, county, state and world a better place.

There are several community events that support taking care of the Earth. While some already have taken place — such as the Walk for Mother Earth and an Earth Day for Kids event on Sears Island — there are more to come. By date, the events include:

Unity cleanup

Unity Barn Raisers, the town of Unity and Friends of Lake Winnecook are teaming up to host an Earth Day celebration Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to noon. Activities include cleaning up Triplet Park, picking up litter in downtown Unity, spring maintenance along local trails, and clean-up at Kanokolous Boat Launch.

All are welcome to join the morning work session. Volunteers are asked to meet at the Unity Community Center, 32 School St., at 9:45 p.m.

Anyone interested in volunteering, or for questions, should call 948-9005 or email ubr@uninets.net.

A Climate to Thrive

The next day, April 28, Waldo County: A Climate to Thrive group, which aims to create energy independence by 2030, will meet from 4 to 6 p.m. at the United Methodist Church, 23 Mill Lane, Belfast. All are welcome. For more information about the group, visit aclimatetothrive.org.

Ecological crisis solutions

On Thursday, May 2, at 6 p.m. at Belfast Free Library, the Belfast area chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby will host Hank Reisner, a trained member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps led by former Vice President Al Gore, leading a slide show and discussion about "solutions to our ecological crisis."

As a father and grandfather, and after 35 years as a building contractor, Reisner has turned his energy to addressing the climate crisis. A member of the Climate Change Committee for Belfast, he is now helping to initiate development of a Waldo County organization, A Climate to Thrive Waldo, whose mission is energy independence by 2030.

Also planning to speak are state Reps. Zeigler, who is a member of the Environment & Natural Resources Committee, and Chloe Maxmin of Nobleboro, who recently introduced LD 1282, for a Green New Deal for Maine.

Light refreshments will be served. Free and open to all.

Sierra Club conference in Belfast

Local community activist and retired teacher Bev Roxby has been instrumental in planning "Building Thriving Communities," an upcoming Sierra Club Maine conference exploring local citizen action responding to climate change.

According to Roxby, the conference will focus on "the positive results, especially on health and economy, that result from taking local action to tackle the damaging effects of accelerating climate changes."

The keynote speaker is Gus Speth, former chairman of the U.S. Council on Environmental Quality, administrator of the UN’s Development Programme, and dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He is a co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council and the author of the 2014 memoir, "Angels by the River."

Registration is now open for the conference, to be held Saturday, May 4, at UMaine Hutchinson Center on Route 3. It will include breakfast and lunch. Registration is on a self-determined sliding scale, with a suggested fee of $50 per person. Tickets are available at Brown Paper Tickets, an online ticketing service https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4104242.

Eleven sessions in the day-long event will feature renowned scientists, innovators, policy makers and green energy leaders, "all of whom help guide and support the growing movement of local sustainability groups," Roxby said.

Two-day Belfast Roadside Cleanup

Also happening in Belfast on Friday, May 3, and Saturday, May 4, is a city-wide cleanup event known as Keeping Belfast Beautiful. Last year, more than four tons of trash were removed from roadsides by volunteers.

Waldo County YMCA leads off the effort on Friday from noon to 4 p.m. The YMCA is inviting people to clean up Lincolnville Avenue from the Route 1 intersection to the Northport line. Those interested in participating are asked to contact Amanda Cunningham at the Y, 338-4598.

On Saturday, registration of volunteers begins at 8 a.m. in the parking lot by Front Street Pub, with the cleanup kicking off at 9 and a barbecue wrapping up the day back at the Front Street parking lot starting at 11 a.m. Check out the Keeping Belfast Maine Beautiful Facebook page for further information.

Brooks cleanup

On Saturday, May 18, starting at 8 a.m. at The Varney, Brooks residents can follow in Belfast's footsteps with a cleanup of town roads. Hamburgers and hot dogs will be served at The Varney from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., following the cleanup. Rain date is Sunday, May 19.  For more information, contact Linda Lord by calling 722-3156 or direct message her on Facebook.

We believe that many in this community deserve credit for their efforts and the positive steps we have taken in recent years. Keep the faith.