Today is a day to celebrate our planet and all its beauty. We must all remember that we are simply brief visitors on Earth, that what we leave behind matters more than what we gained materially. My friends dad had this great quote, Lanty McClung, ” I never saw a hearse with u-haul” ! My point being, that all this stuff we collect is just stuff, but the legacy we leave behind is the “stuff” that really matters. I would love it if we could take this opportunity to share what we do, personally, to protect this Earth and its mysteries, not just for ourselves, or our children, but for the generations yet to be born.

Want to do more? Here is a link to Prince William Conservation Alliance and its programs that foster local wildlife conservation initiatives.

Some of my favorite quotes:

“He who knows what sweets and virtues are in the ground, the waters, the plants, the heavens, and how to come at these enchantments, is the rich and royal man.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), Essays, Second Series, 1844

“When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water.”
– Benjamin Franklin, (1706-1790), Poor Richard’s Almanac

“It is a curious situation that the sea, from which life first arose should now be threatened by the activities of one form of that life. But the sea, though changed in a sinister way, will continue to exist; the threat is rather to life itself.”

– Rachel Carson, (1907-1964) The Sea Around Us, 1951

34 Thoughts to “Earth Day!”

  1. Elena

    These are the actions I take to do my small part:

    I hang out clothes to dry.

    We heat by our wood insert, from wood obtained by fallen trees for various reasons, not cut down to simply heat our home

    We have zones in our home, no more than two zones are on at one time, for either heating our cooling.

    We have changed out all our light bulbs to CFL’s

    We recycle

    Our computers go into “sleep” mode when not in use

    Our driveway is gravel

    I know these are all small contributions, but each small contribution contributes to the larger goal

  2. Anesthesia

    We recycle, clean up local trash and also let our computers sleep.

  3. IVAN

    If everyone changed out their light bulbs that would make a big difference.

  4. Chris

    I’ll be planting three trees. I always try to keep those “vampires” unplugged, especially the fax machine.

  5. Gainesville Resident

    Yes, those new CFL’s really make a big difference in energy useage. Also, pull out all charging devices from the wall outlet – they draw current even though a laptop or cell phone is not plugged into them. Finally, we changed out our nightlights to new LED models that are much lower power, and only come on at night when the lights are off. You can find those at Costco where we bought them last fall.

  6. Moon-howler

    Are the CFL bulbs any better than they were several years ago. I feel like I am sitting in the dark with them. Horrible. I only use them in rooms that we don’t stay in. Please tell me things have improved. What is a good wattage to get for normal lighting in a room. I use 60 watt incandescent bulbs.

  7. Gainesville Resident

    The original CFL bulbs were awful. Actually, they were out back 25 years or more ago, and my father got the idea of replacing them in the house. It was like sitting in a cave and was just awful. The light also had a very harsh quality to it too. The new ones are great however.

    If you look for them, they tell what wattage correspondence to standard bulbs. I think though, if my memory serves me right – you want something like 17 watt bulbs to replace 60 watt incandescents.

  8. Gainesville Resident

    I should mention in the new house we bought a pair of those front loading energy efficient washer/dryers – a low end pair of those from GE that were roughly $800 each. The washer uses about half the amount of water compared to a regular washer, and spin dries the clothes at a very high rate of speed. That means in the dryer, it runs less than half the time of a normal dryer.

    I found our water useage in the new house is less than the old house as a result. I’m sure we are using less energy in drying too, but that is harder to compare obviously.

    I also have a Toyota Prius, and recommend it to anyone who wants to save gas. I average 49 mpg on my commute to work from Gainesville. Back in Manassas, I averaged 50 mpg going to work (in Reston). Going to Manassas had more of a downhill run toward the end on the way home so it worked out a bit better on average.

  9. Elena

    Oh, I forgot, you reminded me Gainesville, we too bought a HE washing machine. Next on the list is replacing the fridge, not THAT is an energy using beast!

    My hubby drives a used ford focus as his commuter car.

    the new bulbs also come in different “colors”, not just bright white but softer tones. Even our outside lights are CFL and on timers.

  10. Poor Richard

    For those in the Manassas area:
    Earth Day – Community Clean-Up in the Park
    Today 3:30-5:30PM at Jennie Dean Park
    (9678 Wellington Road in Manassas – next to Jennie Dean School
    and near the Manassas Boy’s and Girl’s Club)
    Volunteers Needed – Ph-(703)257-8315 for more details.
    (Children MUST be accompanied by an adult and don’t forget to
    bring your own gloves).
    Sponsored by: Manassas Community Development Dept.

  11. Gainesville Resident

    The new appliances that came with our house are GE energy efficient appliances, so I’m hoping the refrigerator is saving energy. It looked pretty good from the energy label on it. The washer/dryer we bought right after we moved in.

    There is the sidewalk lamp outside our house that has incandescent candle like bulbs (3 of them) in it, which is on a sensor that comes on automatically at night – we don’t control that. I have to look at replacing those bulbs however. That’s about the only light that isn’t CFL. Actually, the ones along our porch aren’t, but I never turn on all the porch lights anyway – although eventually I want to replace those with CFL’s. I only turn those on when someone is coming over at night, as there are 4 of them and they are very bright.

  12. Moon-howler

    I bought these inventions of the devil about years ago and havent used up the pack. I think I got it at costco. They are so dim I do feel like I am sitting in a cave. I didn’t allow myself to look at them again since I was so disappointed in my original purchase.

    So Elena and Gainesville, you promise me they are better now? I will try them again on your say so. The one thing about these….they will not die. I have had the bulbs for that long..or so it seems. I only use them in cave rooms. I would have to put in about 5 to be able to see well.

    Gainesville, so you are saying that a washer and dryer that is front loading is more expensive than top loading? Do they wash as well? I may have to get a new washer in the next year or so. I always walked right on by the front loaders.

  13. Elena

    I love my front loader and it really squeezes out the excess water. You just have to remember to leave the door open when it’s not in use.

  14. Gainesville Resident

    Elena – you are right about front loading washers, otherwise I’ve heard they will develop mold around the door. The clothes sure are a lot less wet and heavy taking them out of there than they were from a traditional top loading washer.

    I almost went for a high efficiency heating system which used water through the pipes to heat the basement. Also it kept the hot water hot on demand, that is there was no waiting for hot water. But it was $8000, and the builder’s salesman lied to me when he said there was a lifetime warranty – I checked into it and that just wasn’t true. It would have saved a lot of gas in the winter and some the rest of the year, but I thought it would be expensive to fix if things went wrong. They had it in the model of our house and it was impressive, but in the end I did not get it.

  15. hello

    One thing about CFL’s… while in the long run they do save some energy, however, they contain mercury and when thrown away the mercury is released into our landfills. Just something to think about…

    Also, there is a myth about computers and “sleep” mode. They still use a considerable amount of energy, when not using your PC it’s better to power them down completely along with your monitor.

    I’ve been on a green IT team at my company for the past two years, we have worked on several green initiatives. One of which saves about 35% of PC energy costs by using power management software which powers down PC’s during off peak hours or long periods of non-use.

    Some people think that 35% isn’t much but when you have 5,000 PC’s in the company that adds up. I can’t remember the carbon emission figures but it’s pretty considerable.

  16. ShellyB

    Hello, that’s a great initiative you have at your office. I didn’t realize that about sleep mode. I had always put mine to sleep when I go to sleep. Better to turn it off huh?

  17. Elena

    Good point hello. I will start turing it off at night.

    The mercury in a bulb is minimal. However, you are correct, it requires a little extra stewardship when disposing of them.

    Here are some facts regarding the minor amount of mercury in CFL and more information.

    Nothing is completely waste free except conservation. Compared to the mercury released in burning coal, CFL’s are definately the better choice.

  18. You Wish

    ShellyB :Hello, that’s a great initiative you have at your office. I didn’t realize that about sleep mode. I had always put mine to sleep when I go to sleep. Better to turn it off huh?

    It’s even better to shut them down AND unplug them – enegry is still going through even though it’s “Off”. Same thing with cell phone chargers – don’t keep them plugged in if you aren’t charging your phone – it just sucks enegry.

  19. ShellyB

    I just took a look around my house. We had two cell phone chargers plugged in. We also had three toothbrush chargers that I unplugged. With some work I could consolidate our garage freezer into our regular freezer. But I’d have to throw away some things I’ve been planning to eat the past three years.

  20. hello

    We have implemented several other initiatives as well that are proving to be pretty good energy savers like addressing server room cooling issues, utilizing chillers at night, utilizing more virtual servers to lessen the overall number that need to be cooled, rearranging and maximizing ventilation tile locations… the list goes on and on. No single thing by itself does much but over the past two years the numbers of initiatives really add up to significant energy cost savings and a lower carbon footprint.

    It’s not all just about energy though, paper is a big thing as well. Several initiatives have been implemented to decrease paper usage which is big but if you do buy paper in bulk the best thing to do is to buy only from mills within a 100 mile radius. That way your paper and paper products don’t have to be shipped by trucks over long distances.

    That is true Elena, CFL’s do contain a small amount of mercury but the more popular they become the more they end up in our landfills. Just like batteries used CFL’s should be disposed of properly at a toxic waste depot rather than just being thrown away.

  21. hello

    Before someone asks… the reason we don’t use much recycled paper is because they tend to jam in the printers. We use recycled paper where we can but as of right now the quality is such that it doesn’t work well in most printers.

  22. hello

    Also, they often can’t fill our orders for recycled paper as is.

  23. Censored bybvbl

    Since we’re on a small septic system, we’ve always tried to conserve water – turning it off when we brush our teeth, using an efficient front loading washer and dryer and dishwasher (letting dishes air dry as well). When we added an addition to our house, we upgraded our old windows as well as added insulation to a couple rooms that didn’t have it. No appliances are are their chargers because half the time I can’t remember where I stored the chargers.

    My biggest gripe is with the new light bulbs. The ones I bought initially were great – there was a second or two delay and then they were bright and the light was pleasing. The last ones take too long to reach brightness. If I want to light up a room or the stairs as I pass through, I don’t want to wait for the murkiness to disappear. I want to be able to turn the light on,see any hazards, walk through the room quickly, and turn the light off. Am I looking at the wrong type of bulb? Like Moon-howler, I have several bulbs that I’m dissatified with.

    Last year I practiced tough love and told my garden “adapt or perish”. If anything, I have too many plants.

  24. hello

    Just a suggestion but before implementing horrible policies like cap and trade, which will only make energy costs go up, we must first look at green technologies and actually build nuclear power stations. Yes, I said nuclear power stations… Nuclear power has a bad rap in the U.S. and a nuclear plant hasn’t been built in 30 years, it’s come a long way since then and we are being left behind.

    Look at France, over 78% (90% over all from nuclear or hydro) of their power comes from nuclear plants and they have even developed ways to recycle 96% of their spent nuclear fuel. As a matter of fact they produce so much of their energy using nuclear plants that they are the worlds single largest exporter of electricity.

    Electricity is France’s fourth largest export and they have some of the lowest energy costs in all of Europe while at the same time are one of the least CO2 contributors.

    Just something to think about…

  25. Rebecca

    Dark Master needs to see the TV footage of the children in India wearing face masks because the pollution is so bad in their city. Nasty little post over there by that Manassas bad boy dissing those who celebrate earth day. Ain’t sacrasm great as he blesses his followers.

    Dark Master also thought he outed a county employee also. Wait a minute, haven’t the red circles been blaming Alanna for outting a PEST on a proxy IP address? Nothing like that good time hypocrisy…glad to know its alive and well with the order of the red circle.

    Perhaps the Dark Master is slipping off the track again. What was HE doing on the internet during work hours to catch the county employ? Perhaps he was took a personal day to celebrate earth day.

  26. You Wish

    ShellyB :
    But I’d have to throw away some things I’ve been planning to eat the past three years.

    Ha! Funny – we have stuff in our freezer that is like that, too. Like the top of our wedding cake from 6 years ago (ewww)

  27. Second-Alamo

    What do you say we all go out and shower in the rain. That should save some fresh water. Better yet, leave your clothes on, and get your clothes clean at the same time. For those hard to clean areas just beat yourself against a rock to get the grime out!

    I remember the first earth day, and things have definitely gotten better. Driving up to Phila in 1970 we traveled through a black cloud at the oil refineries site. I took a picture because I had never seen anything like it. I’m not a tree hugger, but we do need to be aware of our environment and the long term effects of our actions.

  28. DB

    I can say without a doubt that if “dark master” spent time in London, even 10 years ago, he’d be blowing black snot out of his nose during the entire visit. When I lived in Europe I had constant ear infections that cleared up when I finally moved to the US. The ENT determined the infections to be “pollution related”. Any whoo…I was so excited, and my students too, to discover that the duck who visited our school courtyard for the past 6 years, returned again. This year however, her eggs were so camoflaged that no one even knew her nest was there until TODAY!! when she made several rounds of the courtyard followed by her 15 ducklings. My students were so excited to see the babies as was I. And what perfect timing since we’re talking about eggs in our classrooom and have recently begun incubating chicken eggs. 19 days to go! Having an issue with keeping the Little Giant incubator at the required 100 degrees, but am hoping for the best.

  29. Moon-howler

    What a wonderful Earth Day story, db. Do you have pictures?
    My friend who lives about an hour and a half outside of London went to Egypt about a year and a half ago. He has asthma. He ended up with so much respirator distress from being in Egypt that he almost died. He showed me pictures of just trash all over the place.

    SA, I agree with you. I think we have to guard what we have. Previous generations have been careless with our resources. Perhaps they didn’t know any better.

    SA, I would call you an old goat but I remember the first Earth Day also.

  30. DB

    Will try to get pix tomorrow or Friday (the ducklings’ transport day to the local pond). The courtyard is a great place to be an egg, or new baby, however it provides no natural access to water (the school has provided in the meantime), and very limited feed. For 6 years, school staff has moved mama and ducklings to a pond out back. What was so cool was when the momma duck walked and the babies followed behind her and one of my students exclaimed “They walk in line too!”

  31. Moon-howler

    hahahaha! good one. Is that still called imprinting?

    I can’t wait to see the pics. How does the momma duck get there in the first place?

  32. Indie

    Mitakuye Oyasin,

    The newborn Republic of Lakotah will be in balance with the earth.


  33. Elena


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