opinion Newport Rhode Island

Thinking about the climate crisis that our community, country, and Earth faces can be overwhelming. Can one person make an impact? Is it ‘worth it’ to compost, recycle, and reduce consumption? The answer is, yes of course, it is worth it; however, if you are still feeling at a loss, there is so much more you can do. Rhode Island is a small state, which means we have easy access to our state government. Get informed about legislation that is impacting our environment and call or email your elected officials to voice your opinion. On those lines, cast your vote and elect politicians who are dedicated to protecting our environment. Volunteer with local non-profits, donate to specific causes you care about, get involved with a city or town committee, and talk with your neighbors to encourage them to do the same.  

Fifty-two years after the first Earth Day in 1970, much has been achieved in creating awareness about the dire health of our environment, but there is so much work left to do. 

I am happy to report that The Eastern Rhode Island Conservation District (ERICD) is working to empower our community’s residents, landowners, and leaders to take action to conserve RI’s valued natural resources (such as soil, water, and air) by educating students about sustainable agriculture, preventing polluted stormwater from entering the watershed, and helping farmers run healthy farms, just to name a few examples. 

ERICD hosted many events throughout April (Earth Month) that empowered a range of community members to take action. Our Seedling Sale ensured that 1,400 native and noninvasive seedlings were distributed and will grow into strong allies for our environment; 50 rain barrels were sold, which will collect stormwater from residential roofs and prevent it from flowing directly into the Bay; ‘ploggers’ picked up over 250 pounds of trash, keeping our coastal and drinking waters cleaner; our Comedy for Conservation show spread the joy of plogging and conservation to an audience that came just for the laughs.

True, these events alone are not going to solve our global climate crisis, but together we can start to make an impact locally, then grow together from there. Please join me in celebrating our Earth, today and everyday, and the impact we will make and thank you to everyone who joined us this April.