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Earth Day Activities Take a New Look at Old T-shirts
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Monday, April 18, 2022
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

Elizabeth Jeffrey used to think that a T-shirt was an innocuous piece of apparel—a nice way to thank volunteers and fun-runners.

Then she learned that it takes 700 gallons of water to make one T-shirt, including growing the cotton and dying the material.

“That’s enough to supply one person’s drinking water needs for almost three years!” she said.

Worse, said Jeffrey, is that people often wear that T-shirt once or not at all. Then it ends up in a landfill.

In response, Jeffrey is planning to show how discarded T-shirts can be turned into yarn and made into wall hangings and other pieces of upcycled art at this week’s Earth Day activities.

This year’s Earth Day celebration will encompass four days with events taking place from Bellevue to Ketchum. They run the gamut from a seed exchange to an alleyway nature walk to knife and tool sharpening, with the bulk of the activities taking place on Saturday, April 23.

“We're kind of a new-old idea trying to get on people's minds in the valley for the first time,” said Jeffrey. “We're really hoping that people will start thinking of it as an annual event that has something for everyone.”

Saturday’s events will include a display of electric vehicles, including a 1960s Ford pickup truck that was converted to biofuel a decade ago and then to an electrical vehicle when the owner found a lithium battery in a junkyard. Another novelty will be a No-Till Seed Drill, which plants seeds without digging up the earth—a process that can disturb important microbes needed to feed plants.

Jeffrey said the city of Hailey and Blaine County have made progress focusing on living sustainably in the past couple years. And the Climate Action Coalition has a number of electrification and weatherization programs lined up to help people make their homes tighter and more.

But there’s always more people can do, including changing the way they buy clothes.

“Since 2000 we’ve doubled the amount that people spend on clothing in the United States,” she said. “The average American buys seven items of clothing a week and during the Pandemic people were buying a lot of clothing online even though they weren’t going out. The statistics are horrifying and the pollution that results from manufacturing all those clothes is horrifying, as fashion is terribly extractive.”

Jeffrey said that conscious shoppers will bypass polyester for cotton. But growing cotton is fertilizer and pesticide intensive.

“Then you dye it, and toxic dyes get released into sewer systems,” she said. “We can’t grow our buying power continually and not do continuous damage to the earth. We hope this is the year people will really step up and think about Earth Day and the possibilities that can happen.”

EARTH DAY ACTIVITIES

  • THURSDAY, April 21

    5:30-7:30 p.m. The Sun Valley Culinary Institute will offer a TASTES OF SPRING COOKING CLASS utilizing produce appropriate for the season. Register at https://sunvalleyculinary.org/upcoming-classes

    5:30 p.m. ALL ABOUT YEW presentation at Hailey Public Library.

    Dr. Lynn Kinter, program botanist for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, will talk about the Japanese yew, a beautiful but deadly evergreen shrub that killed multiple elk in the valley this winter and is also harmful to pets and people.

  • FRIDAY, April 22

11 a.m.-1 p.m. Hourly tours of The Hunger Coalition’s new biodigester Chompie, which turns grocery store food waste into compost in just 72 hours.

Noon—SOIL 101

Grant Loomis of The Idaho Extension office will discuss soil with a look at the soil in Blaine County at The Hunger Coalition’s Bloom Campus in Bellevue.

2-3 p.m. CAN I RECYCLE THIS?

Stephanie Carlson of Blaine County and Elizabeth Jeffrey of the Climate Action Coalition will answer questions about what goes into local recycling bins and more in a virtual meeting. Join online at https://meet.goto.com/161976381.

  • SATURDAY, April 23

10 a.m. EARTH DAY 5K FUN RUN

This fun run hosted by the Climate Action Coalition and Chamber will start and finish at Hailey’s new Town Center behind the Hailey Library and take runners through the Draper Preserve. Cost is $20 per person and $10 per student and dogs on leashes are welcome. Register in person at the Hailey Visitor’s Center near the Campion Ice House or at https://legacy.imathlete.com/events/EarthDay5KHailey

Proceeds from registration fees will go to the Bald Mountain Reforestation Project, a project being done by the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Sun Valley Resort and the National Forest Foundation.

10 a.m.-noon EARTH DAY FOOD RESILIENCE SEED AND PLANT EXCHANGE, Grange Hall, 609 S. 3rd Avenue in Hailey

Local gardeners are invited to share saved veggie, flower and herb seeds, potted plants and starts and perennials. Seeds will be distributed by the Wood River Seed Library free of charge but donations are appreciated.

In addition, representatives of the Sun Valley Institute for Resilience will show how to make seed pods using native pollinator seeds.

Pioneer Edge Works will sharpen knives and garden tools for $1 per inch of blade. The Seed Library also shares its collection of seeds through the Hailey Public Library, the YMCA in Ketchum, the Building Material Thrift Store in Bellevue and Itty Bitty Farm store in Carey. The library will hold a second seed and plant exchange on Saturday, May 28.

10 a.m.-2 p.m. EARTH DAY FEST at Hailey Town Center

There will be informative, fun events; information booths and displays. The Environmental Resource will provide information about the Bald Mountain Reforestation Project. There’ll be a display of electric vehicles, including Mountain Rides’ electric bus, a local Tesla, an eBike trotted out by Hailey’s new bicycle shop, a car from Idaho Power’s fleet and an old truck that was converted to bio-fuel, then electric.

There also will be a community weaving project using upcycled materials and booths showing how to reuse TP rolls for seed starting. Rob Lonning will sharpen knives and other tools, donating the first $50 raised from the endeavor to a Community School student who purchased incubators as part of a month-long Earth Day program for Bellevue and Hailey first-graders learning how to raise chicks from eggs.

Members of St. Thomas Episcopal Church’s Green Team will offer a primer on composting and Itty Bitty Farms will have food and garden items, along with information on starting your garden. There also will be children’s stories and a chance to view student art at the Hailey Public Library and the new Town Center West building.

10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. CLEAR CREEK’S YARD CLEANUP DROP-OFF

Residents are invited to bring tree and shrub trimmings, garden waste and grass clippings to the Park & Ride lot on River Street. The yard waste will be added to the Ohio Gulch compost, providing a valuable source of nutrients for compost instead of producing methane in the landfill.

10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. EARTH DAY EVENTS AND DISPLAYS at the Blaine County Courthouse parking lot.

There’ll be a Noxious Weeds display, a book giveaway courtesy of the Bellevue Library and educational material and games concerning recycling in Blaine County. And the Blaine Soil Conservation District will have a display about the No-Till Seed Drill used to plant seeds for regenerative farming.

11 a.m.-1 p.m. BIKE RODEO

Safe Routes to School will educate children about the rules of road and challenge their bike skills with a chalk obstacle course. Children can bring their own bike or one will be provided.

Noon—WALKING TOUR OF PLANT TREASURES CLOSE TO HOME

Members of the Wood River Chapter of the Idaho Native Plant Society will identify plants right beneath your feet as they explore the alleyways of Hailey in a walk that starts at Town Center.

1-3 p.m. RECYCLING HOPE

An afternoon of family-friendly recycling activities, free food, games and music will take place at Balmoral/Kiwanis Park.

4-5 p.m. PERSPECTIVES ON SALMON STUDIES

Kurt Tardy and Rob Trahant of the Shoshone-Bannock Fish and Wildlife Services will offer a history of the issues salmon face and a look at the future of this keystone species at The Community Library in Ketchum.

  • MONDAY, April 25

6 p.m. Author Diana Kapp will discuss her newest book “GIRLS WHO GREEN THE WORLD” at the Sun Valley Community School. The book spotlights women driving change in the environmental and sustainability sectors.

The free talk will include a round table hosted by the Community School’s Green Team and a Q&A.

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