Working for a cleaner world

PSU students celebrated the 34th annual Earth Day in the ParkBlocks yesterday with live bands, speakers and booths promotingenvironmental issues.

The Oregon Electric Vehicle Association brought several electricand hybrid cars into the Park Blocks, and members eagerly promotedthe virtues of cars that use less fuel.

PGE had a booth promoting their renewable energy plan, whichallows customers to choose to use power from environmentallyfriendly sources like wind and geo-thermal power plants for a smallincrease in their monthly bill.

Other organizations represented included the Sierra Club, andBark, a volunteer organization that promotes protecting Oregon’spublic forests.

Logging on Mount Hood and in Oregon in general was also one ofthe major issues addressed. In particular the proposed plan to logas much as 29,000 acres of the Siskiyou National Forest as part ofthe cleanup from last year’s Biscuit wildfire.

“We can create jobs and save the forests,” Betsy Breyer, one ofthe speakers said. “Ecology and economy are not at odds with eachother.”

A representative from Bark also spoke about proposed timbersales around Mount Hood, and pleaded for people to getinvolved.

Earth Day first began on April 22, 1970, as the projectof Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin. Nelsonproposed the a nationwide environmental protest “to shake up thepolitical establishment and force this issue onto the nationalagenda.”

Nelson, 87, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, thehighest honor given to civilians in the United States, for hisefforts creating Earth Day, and is still involved with Earth Dayevents.

This year, Nelson marked the occasion by urging President GeorgeW. Bush to deliver an annual “state of the environment address,”and telling Congress to hold hearings on environmentalsustainability.

In 1990, Earth Day became a global event, involving over 200million people in 141 countries around the world. Today, as many as184 countries are involved.

Over 20 million people in the United States alone participatedin Earth Day activities including tree planting, beach clean-upsand public demonstrations.