FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information: Joan Michelson
April 27, 2011
MOMENTUM BUILDS IN EARTH DAY NETWORK BILLION ACTS OF GREEN CAMPAIGN, HITS 100 MILLION
WASHINGTON, DC – Aspiring engineer and Michigan eighth-grader Prashanth used his exceptional math talents to build a boat out of recycled plastic he could sail on the Detroit River to raise awareness of plastic pollution. Cindy, a young mother in rural Louisiana who has seen more than her share of hardship, found her life’s calling in initiating environmental activism and a recycling program in her area. Thirteen-year old Hocar wasn’t going to let losing his hands from a land mine in his Iraqi village keep him from planting trees at his school to show that everyone has a responsibility to help save the earth. These three epitomize the spirit of “people power” demonstrated in Earth Day Network’s Billion Acts of Green® campaign, as it marks over 100 million participants.
From Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia to Cambodia and Oman, private individuals as well as “green teams” at U.S. Embassies and the Peace Corps logged Acts ranging from calculating the first embassy carbon footprint to organizing half a million schoolchildren to plant trees.
“Every Act we have registered in getting to 100 million is critical to moving our society in a sustainable direction. These Acts from Prashanth, Cindy and Hocar represent the best of the best, for their ability to inspire and spur others to action,” said Kathleen Rogers, president of Earth Day Network. “We encourage everyone to visit our Billion Acts of Green website or our Facebook application to tell the world how they intend to green their own life.”
Prashanth Ramakrishna, Troy, MI
To raise awareness in the Midwest of the Pacific Ocean plastic garbage patch, Prashanth and his friends, guided by a sailboat engineer friend of his father’s, are building a boat of recycled plastic to sail down the Detroit River. “The news about the Garbage Patch never gets play in Michigan because the Great Lakes are so pristine, but in California, for example, they hear about it every day,” Prashanth said of his motivation for the project.
It all started with his seventh-grade science project in which he calculated the size of the garbage patch in 10 years, taking into account plastic flow and river distribution. “It took a lot of work, it was a big Excel spreadsheet. What was really disappointing was seeing the numbers, and I got a bit curious when I calculated the mass it would come to. After I came up with the area, I decided to map it out onto Google Earth, and it turned out to be pretty bad, about one-fifth of the Pacific Ocean.”
Determined to do more, Prashanth recruited his friends Vincent Perkins, Constantine Stavropoulos, Paul Greer, Steven Conyers and Anand Prahbu and Mr. Bill DeCoste, an “amazing” engineer and sailboat racer, and secured recycled plastic bottles from Soccra, a local recycling company, and his school Recycling Club.
“The frame is wood, the sail is made from recycled sail material, and the mast and boom are thrown-away aluminum masts. The flotation is from recycled bottles from Soccra, which has a 40-foot-high mountain of recycled trash. We went trash-diving to pull out the bottles we needed. We have posted a request for bottles, as we’re running low,” Prashanth explains.
The group has set a sail date for June 18.
On the Earth Day Network site: http://act.earthday.org/act/1303424610/build-boat-made-out-recycled-plastic-materials-and-sail-it-down-detroit-river
Facebook: The Bottle Boat Initiative
Cindy Sheppard, Delhi, LA
Delhi, Louisianain Richland Parish where Cindy Sheppard lives is a small town in the northeast corner of the Gulf statethat has been so environmentally traumatized the past several years from Hurricane Katrina and the oil spill last year. Local oil companies are the area’s strongestemployers. Environmental activism was virtually unknown in Delhi (pronounced DEL-hi), with no recycling program, and discarded tires and other recyclable debris lining the highway. Or was, that is, untilCindy Sheppard learned about Earth Day Network’s Billion Acts of Green® campaign while watching the Kids Choice Awards with her 10-year-old daughter in early April. Inspired by the show to go to EDN’s website www.earthday.org/act, Cindy decided “acting green” was a way she could make a difference in her own town.
In just two weeks, Cindy organized an inaugural Earth Day recycling event, enlisting everyone from her husband and his co-workers from a local oil company, to local hospital staff where she used to work before she became too ill, to the children’s home where she spent fourteen years growing up, to Mayor J. Lynn Lewis. She also enlisted Kohl’s and ConAgra. Everyone either volunteered their time or donated something, such as recycling bins or trucks to pick up the trash and recycled goods (and drivers). Some people volunteered to go to schools and teach kids how to recycle. ConAgra donated $5,000 worth of land for a recycling plant to serve the entire Richland Parish.
After a rocky childhood, Cindy said she “found a place where she felt a sense of belonging” in Delhi and “just wants to help.” “I’m not trying to start a business…I would just like to help as many people as I can,” says Cindy. Once Earth Day is over, and her upcoming surgeries are behind her, she plans on continuing her work as an organization called SOIL: Service of Inspired Love.
On the Earth Day Network site: http://act.earthday.org/event/earth-day-delhi
Hocar Hamdamin Hassan, Erbil, Iraq
Hocar’s “act” – greening his Nesetman Primary School by planting trees – may sound like one of the easiest “acts of green” one can do. But for the 13-year-old and his 11-year-old brother, it wasn’t so simple, because they both survived a land mine explosion a few years ago that cost Hocar both of his hands and his brother an eye.
Hocar said he wants to show the world that everybody, no matter what their obstacles, should support the environmental movement to save our planet. “I learned over the past few years that life is constantly changing, and there is no way I’m going to give up on this life,” Hocar said.
See photos of Hocar’s Act of Green: http://www.earthday.org/gallery/event-hocar-hamdamin-hassan-and-together-iraq
About Earth Day Network
Earth Day Network’s mission is to broaden, diversify and mobilize the environmental movement, driving action year-round. Earth Day Network does this through advocacy, education, public policy, and consumer campaigns.
Earth Day Network mobilizes over one billion people in 192 countries with the help of our 25,000 partners. Please share your “Act of Green” to help EDN achieve its goal of “A Billion Acts of Green” by the 2012 U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development (aka “Rio+20)) www.earthday.org.
Facebook app: http://apps.facebook.com/billionactsofgreen