Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day 2010

We have been discussing environmental issues this month, April, at our English Club. The Peace Corps Ukraine Environmental Committee created and distributed a nice package of things we can do. We talked about global warming, the volcano in Iceland, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes and other natural disasters around the globe. We talked about what we can do in our own communities to make the planet a safer place. Everyone is participating in some way to make our environment cleaner, safer, healthier. "Earth Day should be Everyday" is our slogan. And "think globally and act locally" is another oldie but goodie.

What can we do right now to help the environment, I asked. Don't use so much paper! Recycle bottles. Use things again instead of throwing them away. Save water, use less. Keep our rivers clean. Great answers! "Reduce, reuse, recycle," is the Earth Day slogan. And how about clean-up days? Oh sure, nods all around the room. At that moment I slowly pulled out a surprise package from my backback and, with a dramatic flourish, held it up, to much laughter: plastic trash bags and plastic gloves! They thought it was funny. I distributed them to the members, who proceeded to have fun trying them on, saying the gloves didn't fit, the bags were too small, and generally putting me on! "I know you know what to do with these," I said. They nodded and smiled.

We talked about using trash for art, which the younger kids liked especially. I told them about my being in San Miguel de Allenda, Mexico, with my grandchildren Julia and Tony many years ago and collecting bottle caps, junk, and pieces of tile on our walks to and from town, and using these items to make picture frames, collages and other art. Tonya, the teacher, said she'd try this with her classes at Kooryvchevka school.

The people of Starobilsk are also participating in their own way. Mostly they are out cleaning, raking, picking up refuse, sweeping streets and paths. At the university crews of students and teachers have been out collecting trash and cleaning around buildings (photo upper right). Starobilsk looks fresh and clean and green in its Spring finery.

Back at the English Club, I distributed Certificates of Participation in Earth Day 2010 to members, which they loved getting, and then sent them off with their plastic bags and gloves to keep the momentum going.

No comments:

Post a Comment