Yesterday we joined the country in celebrating the 40th Earth Day…but we do our best to care for and protect the Earth every day by incorporating simple actions into daily life at the Aquarium. Here are just some of the simple actions we take:
- In the Aquarium cafes, our utensils, cups, straws and lids are made from potatoes and corn, which are compostable and biodegradable. We also offer three bins for waste: compost, recycling and trash.
- The Aquarium Animal Programs staff repurposes toilet paper tubes, used towels, plastic bottles, old phone books, and other materials for education programs and animal enrichment.
- Staff members have the option to join a community-supported agriculture program that delivers organic, locally grown produce right to the Baltimore venue.
- We turned 53 wetsuits into 575 bottle cozies, available in our gift shop, which kept 92 pounds of neoprene out of landfills.
- When you walk across the newly reopened exterior harbor footbridge, do you feel a little spring in your step? We used 98,342 plastic milk jugs to renovate it!
- Last year, we recycled 50 tons of plastic, glass, aluminum, cardboard and paper; 388 pounds of “technotrash”; and 489 pounds of batteries. We also send in corks and energy bar wrappers to companies that “upcycle” them into new products!
- Every month, the Aquarium recognizes and rewards three staff members who conserve natural resources by walking, biking, carpooling or taking mass transit to work.
- Power-generating water valves are installed in Aquarium restrooms, which create and store power.
- Each year, every full-time Aquarium employee gets a paid day off to participate in a conservation event, such as a wetland cleanup or a tree-planting event.
You can read about more actions the Aquarium takes here and get some more tips for what you can do here. And come join us at the National Aquarium this Saturday for our continued Earth Day celebration!
What simple actions do you, your family, or your workplace take every day?
Last week we explained how precipitation flows downstream. Keep in mind that as the snow in the Mid-Atlantic states begins to melt, trash that is on streets will be picked up with the water and flow downstream into the Chesapeake Bay. In Baltimore, a lot of that trash washes into a 10 acre urban wetland at Fort McHenry.
A few times a year the Aquarium’s Conservation Team (ACT!) takes on the task of cleaning up the trash and debris that collects in the wetland. And at each event they can count on one thing – finding lots and lots of polystyrene (better known as Styrofoam, which is a trademarked material).
Continue reading ‘Green Tip: Say no to styrofoam’
Spring is here! Flowers are in bloom, grass is getting greener, and the water warming- but is it getting cleaner?
As stated the EPA’s annual Chesapeake Bay report, the Bay Barometer, despite small successes in certain parts of the ecosystem and specific geographic areas, the overall health of the Chesapeake Bay did not improve in 2008. The Bay continues to have poor water quality, degraded habitats and low populations of many species of fish and shellfish. Based on these three areas, the overall health averaged 38 percent, with 100 percent representing a fully restored ecosystem.
As we hear all of the time, one of the greatest challenges to restoration is continued population growth and development, which destroys forests, wetlands and other natural areas. The impact of human activity is overwhelming nature and offsetting cleanup efforts.
Almost 17 million people live in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The actions that residents take everyday affect nature and impact the health of local creeks, streams and rivers, and ultimately the Bay. As you set off to enjoy the season and the outdoors, remember what you can be doing to help protect our waters and the animals that inhabit them:
Pick up after your pet
Use phosphorus-free dish detergent
Drive your car less
Don’t fertilize your lawn
Plant native trees and shrubs
Install a rain barrel and rain garden
Resolve to make a difference in 2009. Your daily activities and habits have a tremendous impact on the environment. In the new year, make a resolution to enjoy, protect, and respect our aquatic world. Thoughtful choices today can improve the health of the environment and without drastically changing your lifestyle. Use one less plastic bag. Reduce, reuse and recycle. Volunteer during a field clean-up. Carpool. Together, let’s ensure peace and prosperity for all creatures on our blue planet for years to come. Here are nine simple actions to get you started.
Green Tip #4: Going green for the holidays. When it comes to conservation, it’s the little things that matter most. Give a gift to the environment this holiday season by taking the time to conserve! Here are 10 ways to have an eco-friendly holiday:
Buy a potted or “balled” Christmas tree and replant it after the holidays. You can create a year-round habitat for local wildlife.
Recycle or mulch a cut tree for use in gardens and playgrounds. Avoid discarding it in a landfill.
Replace plastic bows with reusable cloth ribbons. Save gift wrap and ribbons to decorate next year’s gifts.
Wrap gifts with colorful pages torn from magazines, the Sunday comics, last year’s calendar or old maps and posters.
Instead of wrapping paper use decorative tins, baskets, boxes, or fabric bags.
Conserve electricity by installing a timer on holiday lights. And invest in LED holiday lights.
Send Internet holiday greeting cards or traditional cards made from recycled paper.
Trim your tree with edible ornaments like popcorn, cranberries or gingerbread cookies! Later, move your tree into the yard to give the birds a holiday treat!
Enjoy a delicious cup of organic hot coco. Cocoa contains twice as many antioxidants as red wine.
Give holiday gifts of “time” to your family and friends. Nothing is more valuable!