Saturday, April 22, 2006

Happy Earth Day -- Compare and Contrast

Well, here it is, Earth Day, 2006. And here are a few ecology organization websites to compare and contrast with the United States federal government portal featured yesterday:

World Wildlife Federation

WWF works to preserve fresh water, the single most essential resource for our well-being. Find out what you can do to help. LEARN MORE

They have a link with 10 ways to make Earth Day matter. WWF also has links dealing with endangered species (well, that's their name isn't it?), Global Challenges, Conservation Science and How to Get Involved. They have other, more entertaining links as well, about nature photography, free e-cards and other informative, educational things. You can shop and make donations here, and sign up for an e-newsletter.

Greenpeace International

This international website says

Earth Day (April 22nd) was born in 1970 in the US, at the peak of an awakening in environmental awareness that led to the Clean Air Act and a flurry of effective legislative responses to an ecological crisis. That's the spirit we need today!

* More
* Sign up

You can see that Greenpeace takes a more in-your-face approach. They feature these headings beneath "What we do:"

- Stop Climate Change

- Save our Seas

- Protect Ancient Forests

- Demand peace and disarmament

- Say no to genetic engineering

- Eliminate toxic chemicals

- End the nuclear threat

- Encourage sustainable trade

They are nothing if not positive about their stands, what they are accomplishing and how they are going to accomplish these things. Their website also tells you how to join, donate, get involved, and lots of information about a lot of different issues.

Sierra Club

We are moving from international to United States or at least North American-based organizations. Sierra Club's website today notes Earth Day:

Last Chance: Special $15 Earth Day Membership Offer
This Earth Day, become a full-fledged member of the Sierra Club, America's most effective advocate for our environment!

Like the other websites, they tell how to join, get involved, how to educate yourself about issues they care about. All of these are good websites, although clearly they have a strong bias on environmental issues, I think this site and the WWF site have good science behind them. The Sierra Club News notes tartly, "Fortunately, states are acting in the absence of leadership from Mr. Bush."

They note this issue with federal government:

Tests reveal high formaldehyde levels in FEMA trailers. Get the facts.

The link leads to a PDF report on high formaldehyde levels from glue and other chemicals used in building the trailers given by FEMA to residents of the Gulf Coast to live in for up to 18 months following Hurricane Katrina's destruction. The report details signs and symptoms of formaldehydel poisoning, tells where to order testing kits, how to contact FEMA officials and make a report if your emergency housing tests too high. Very helpful report, and free.

National Wildlife Federation

This is one of my favorites. It links from here to link, which I have mentioned before as a great online field guide. But the NWF website itself is like the others for environmental organizations, with information on joining, making donations, getting newsletters.

The signature effort of NWF is the Backyard Habitat program, where you can plant or just encourage native plants. No matter how large or small your space, from a multi-acre spread to a window-sill or balcony, you can put a bird bath or feeder or birdhouse, or plants out for butterflies and birds. I have really enjoyed learning about plants and their relationships with the ecosystem, and sharing that with my children. I've registered three backyard habitats in three different states and planting zones. A lot to learn!

NWF does not mention Earth Day; they turn it into a week celebration:

April's Featured Stories
National Wildlife Week

National Wildlife Week — April 22-30
Join thousands of people nationwide as they celebrate National Wildlife Week and make a difference for wildlife

NWF also has terrific monthly magazines for children of three different age groups and a wonderfully illustrated magazine for adults. If you have children, grandchildren or a teacher of children in your life, they will love the stuff at this site. The science is sound and nicely packaged.

The beautiful image decorating this essay is courtesy of World Wildlife Federation's Earth Day page.

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