Tomorrow is Earth Day. In honor of Earth Day, thousands of Western New Yorkers are preparing to spend time tackling water issues, celebrating solar power, and participating in events ranging from recycling clothing initiatives to neighborhood cleanups.
In anticipation of Earth Day, University at Buffalo has launched a UB Solar Strand app that allows interested parties to tour the university’s massive solar strand on their own time. The app will be unveiled in front of 150 fifth graders tomorrow at the Solar Strand. Below is a video that features some of the useful tools that are built into the app.
Congressman Brian Higgins has also contributed to Earth Day, by announcing legislation that will help to steward the Great Lakes moving forward. The legislation is supported by Representatives Slaughter, Levin and Moore, and will be introduced before Congress on Earth Day.
Known as the The Great Lakes Nutrient Removal Assistance Act, the legislation would see to it that $500 million would be allocated to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in order to upgrade publicly-owned wastewater treatment plants. The upgrades would help to provided nutrient removal technology that would help to prevent frightening algae blooms such as the one that was witnessed in Toledo.
“The Great Lakes are an incredible natural and economic resource for Western New York,” said Congressman Brian Higgins (photo left). “Restoring and preserving the integrity of the Great Lakes is critical to our waterfront economy and the vitality of our region.”
“Historic droughts and water shortages currently gripping the nation are a stark wake-up call, reminding us that we must do everything we can to preserve the largest surface freshwater system on the Earth, the Great Lakes,” said Rep. Louise Slaughter, co-chair of the Great Lakes Task Force. “Investing in the region’s water infrastructure is a proven way to protect the drinking water for more than 30 million Americans and ensure that these lakes are here for future generations.”
Once dismissed as the next generation’s problem, our entire country is facing a fresh water crisis defined by the cumulative impacts of droughts, toxic algae, pollution, and inadequate water infrastructure”, said Jill Jedlicka, Executive Director of Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper (photo right). “Congressman Higgins understands that strategic investment dedicated to restoring our nation’s water resources will result in tremendous economic return for the benefit of the entire community. We thank him for his commitment to the ecological integrity of the Great Lakes, the protection of our drinking water, and crafting this legislation needed to support improvements to our nation’s water treatment systems.”
“The tragedy in Toledo demonstrated how vulnerable Lake Erie is to nutrient pollution. When it comes to protecting our drinking water, we can’t afford not to take action,” said Brian Smith, Associate Executive Director for Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “Upgrading our treatment plants with modern technology is a critical part of the solution. We commend Congressman Higgins for his leadership in protecting the health of our Great Lakes.”
“As we transition from grit to green and embrace the benefits of our blue economy, there is no investment more important than utilizing our living systems and state of the art technology to secure safe drinking water sources for communities around the Great Lakes,” notes Ryan McPherson, Chair of the Western New York Environmental Alliance—a coalition of over 100 organizations that collectively represents the environmental voice of our region. “We commend the Congressman for his continued leadership of focusing on our future and securing Buffalo’s greatest natural asset, fresh clean water.”
Lynda Schneekloth, Chair of the Sierra Club Niagara Group and Advocacy Chair for the Western New York Environmental Alliance said, “The fresh waters of the Great Lakes are a public trust and belong to all the people and creatures who need water for life. It is our actions that have caused the increase of contamination and therefore, it will be our actions that will help clean the waters. Congressman Higgins’ Great Lakes Nutrient Removal Assistance Act will be a major first step in preserving the public trust by cleaning the waters of Lake Erie for human consumption.”
At the same time, the City of Buffalo has set up a series of environmentally friendly events that are designed to get citizens thinking about the earth, and our role to protect it.
“Earth Day is a time to remember the importance of our natural resources to our environment and economy and I’m proud of the city’s efforts in making Buffalo a cleaner, greener and more sustainable city,” said Mayor Byron Brown. “I encourage city residents to participate in any one of the activities the City of Buffalo has planned this year.”
The following events are all Earth Day related:
- April 1st —April 28th — Buffalo Public Schools Clothing Recycling Drive— Buffalo Public Schools 33, 37, 45, 61, 64, 93, 206, 304 and the Westminster Community Charter School. All used clothing will be reused or recycled.
- April 22nd—Mayor Byron W. Brown will be at Niagara Square at 1:00PM for a special Earth Day celebration.
- April 25th – 9:00AM—1:00PM—Republic Services Recycling Materials Facility Open House located in the rear of 2299 Kenmore Avenue Buffalo, NY 14207. City residents are encouraged to see where the recycling goes after it is collected at the curb. Refreshments will be served. Call 614-3368 for details.
- May 2nd— Community Paper Shredding Event and Clothing Drive at Martin Luther King Jr. Park from 10:00AM—1:00PM. Residents can bring their confidential documents to be shredded on site at no charge.
- May 2nd—GoBike Buffalo, the Western New York Coalition for Donated Goods and the Elmwood Village Business Association are sponsoring a used clothing and bike recycling event at Elmwood Avenue and Bidwell Parkway from 10:00AM—2:00PM.