Cumberland Times-News

Letters

April 20, 2014

Celebrate Earth Day every day: Reduce, reuse and recycle

April 1 marked the beginning of April Envi- ronmental Education Month in Maryland — and with Earth Day coming up on April 22, Maryland has much to celebrate.

Over the course of the O’Malley-Brown Administration, we’ve worked to make the environment a priority for our state. Maryland became the first state in the nation to adopt environmental literacy graduation requirements, which now serve as a key component of our state’s curriculum. We also launched the Explore and Restore Your SchoolShed pro- gram, which encourages and enables schools to study and care for their local streams.

Together, we have protected more than 150,000 acres of land — larger than the total land area of Calvert County — and we support- ed more than 1,300 local recreational projects. We accomplished these results while adopting new, effective policies to advance and improve our overall environmental protection efforts.

Since 2009, we’ve used our GreenPrint eval- uation system to score and select potential preservation projects objectively for the first time, based on their ecological value — some- thing no other state has done.

This year, we fought to expand the state’s Wildlands Preservation system by 50 percent in nine counties, adding an additional 22,000 acres of protected land that supports ecosys- tems, plants and animals.

And since establishing the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund in 2007, we’ve invested nearly $160 million in opera- tional funds and nearly $100 million in capital funds to pollution control projects that accel- erate our bay restoration efforts.

Remember this Earth Day and every day to reduce, reuse and recycle. At the state, our goal is to recycle 30 percent of the waste we create. We’re doing this through composting food and increasing our recycling bins around state facilities.

Join us and show your support for Earth Day and the environment by doing your part to go green. Plant a tree, join a project that supports the Chesapeake Bay, or organize a local cleanup with your family and friends. Every little bit counts.

Have a green and happy Earth Day!

Gov. Martin O’Malley

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