Become involved to help environment for Earth Week 2013

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Kevin M. Gill / Flickr Creative Commons

It’s Earth Week 2013 and tradition calls for hugging trees and going green. The 43rd anniversary of Earth Day was celebrated on Monday, April 22 by over one billion people in 192 participating countries, according to the Earth Day Network. Even though the day is past, here are some things you can do this week to help the environment and go green:

Plant a tree

Tree planting is one of the simplest and most effective ways to help the environment. New trees provide more oxygen and habitats for other organisms. Most young trees come in recyclable containers. By the time you purchase a container tree, the roots will already by deep in the pot and all that is needed is replanting. This is the most common way to start planting a tree. Here are the steps to properly planting a container tree:

  1. Dig a hole. Start by locating an area with soil. The hole should be about the size of a basketball and at least one foot deep. Save the dug up soil for further use.
  2. Unpot the tree. A easy way to unpot the tree is by setting down the pot on its side and gently rolling it around with your foot. This loosens up the dirt and roots inside. Gently remove the tree without damaging the roots.
  3. Prepare the tree. Planting the tree as it is without preparation won’t let the roots grow properly. Take the potted portion and gently massage and ruffle it until the dirt and roots shake loose. You don’t need to shake loose all of the soil, but the roots should start to untangle.
  4. Plant it.  Align the tree into the hole. Make sure the top of soil that’s still on the tree aligns with the top of the hole. After you set it in, fill the hole up with the dirt that you previously dug up. Pat down the dirt nice and packed in; add a little water and it’s set.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

As simple as it sounds, recycling can go a long way in helping the environment. Before throwing away garbage, find out if it’s recyclable. Recyclable materials include empty aerosol cans, aluminum cans and clean foil, food and drink containers, paper and plastic materials with a number one to seven on the recycling symbol.  Here is a small list of common household items that you can recycle:

  1. Milk jugs

  2. Beverage bottles (water, soft drinks)

  3. Plastic retail bags

  4. Newspapers, magazines, white and color copy paper

  5. Shampoo bottles

Volunteer at an Earth Week event.

There are many opportunities in Oregon alone to help with cleaning and protecting the environment. SOLVE, an organization that works to improve the environment of Oregon, is one of the many Oregon organizations where you can participate in activities such as beach cleaning, park cleaning, ivy-pulling and tree planting. Here is a list of upcoming events where you can volunteer:

  1. Downtown Estacada Cleanup: Activities include invasive plant removal, litter cleanup, maintenance and monitoring. This event is on Saturday, April 27 from 9 a.m to 1 p.m. Meet on 475 Main St., Estacada, OR.

  2. Lynch Wood Elementary School Cleanup: Activities include litter cleanup, painting, graffiti clean up. This event is on Saturday, April 24 from 9 a.m to 1 p.m. Meet at Lynch Wood Elementary School on 3615 SE 174th Ave., Portland, OR

  3. Small Community, Big Project: Activities include picking up trash around the Lombard community. This event is on Sunday, April 28 from 11 a.m to 1 p.m. Meet at North Lombard and North Burlington, N. Lombard St. and N. Burlington Ave., Portland, OR.

Although Earth Day is only one day and Earth Week is only seven days long, the efforts an individual takes any time, whether it be properly recycling a lunch or watering a baby tree, can be beneficial to the environment. So be sure to take the time to help out↼because the Earth needs it.