Earth Day - Team Edwards moving in right direction|
Posted 4/25/2012 Updated 4/25/2012
by 95th Air Base Wing Public Affairs and Air Force Materiel Command Public Affairs
4/25/2012 - EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Team Edwards is sure to find Earth Day a moving experience this year.
Instead of the traditional date of April 22, this year the base is moving its Earth Day observance to May 2 - right in the middle of Base Cleanup Week, April 30 to May 4.
Scheduling the two events together capitalizes on the symbiosis these annual activities come by naturally - caring for the earth and caring for the base - organizers say.
95th Air Base Wing hopes all of Team Edwards will find Earth Day moving in other ways as well - moving to help with base cleanup activities and moving to take advantage of self-guided opportunities both on- and off-base.
Earth Day events this year will feature a recycling contest among base organizations, educational displays at the Base Exchange and an opportunity to turn in hazardous waste.
Environmental Management also has information available about local wildflowers, wildlife, Piute Ponds and self-guided activities people or organizations can do.
The recycling contest fits closely with this year's Air Force theme for Earth Day - "Conserve Today. Secure Tomorrow."
The contest has already begun and base organizations are collecting California Redemption Value recyclables and competing to win. The winning organization will be the one that collects the most CRV recyclable containers as measured by weight per person in the organization.
Service-wide, the Air Force is challenging every member of the Air Force family to do his or her part to conserve natural resources, minimize waste and prevent pollution.
"I challenge all Airmen to think about pollution prevention in new ways," said Gen. Norton Schwartz, Air Force chief of staff. "We all need to understand that we can make a difference in managing waste so we can find cleaner, more cost effective ways of accomplishing our mission."
Recycling conserves resources by reusing them, conserves energy - about 90 percent in the case of recycling aluminum cans as opposed to extracting raw materials - and conserves the landfill space required to store refuse.
The 95th Civil Engineering Division will also host a display on conserving energy, another on solar energy and Environmental Management will host a display about van pools from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on May 2 at the Base Exchange.
One of the displays at the Exchange will be Southern California Edison's Mobile Energy Unit, a motor coach full of information promoting energy-efficiency for both residential and business customers to help them save money, energy, and help the environment.
Additionally, there will be a display of the solar panels the base is using in its recently installed solar farms. The farms are expected to reduce the costs of Air Force energy use, particularly during the high-cost, high-demand summer months.
Edwards has been focused on saving energy for many years. For example, Bldg. 3000 incorporated enough energy saving concepts to qualify for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. The newly constructed base housing units also incorporated many energy-saving design features.
This has been an effort Air Force-wide.
"Civil engineers are building sustainable installations every day," said Maj. Gen. Timothy Byers, the Air Force civil engineer. "We are focusing on being smarter, faster, better and cheaper; we are reducing waste, conserving energy, and building leaner, more sustainable facilities because we know these efforts not only support the environment, but also save money and improve our mission capabilities."
Edwards Environmental Management will also host a Household Hazardous and Universal Waste Roundup from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 1-3 at the Consolidated Recycling Universal Waste Facility, Bldg. 4904, at 446 N. Rosamond Blvd., which is just North of Forbes Ave. Look for a brown sign that says Hazardous Waste Support Facility. The two buildings are co-located.
This is for base residents only. The base cannot accept waste from off-base residents at this event.
Household hazardous waste includes unwanted or expired yard chemicals, cleaning supplies, paint and automotive products.
Universal waste includes nonworking devices like televisions, appliances, computers, telephones, ink cartridges and cell phones. It also includes other items like dead batteries, unbroken fluorescent tubes, halogen bulbs, aerosol cans and mercury-containing items like thermostats. None of these items should ever be put into household trash.
There will also be an opportunity for base residents or organizations to drop off electronic waste from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 1-3 at Bldg. 3738. This includes all types of electronics equipment.
Base residents will also be able to drop off used motor oil at the Auto Hobby Shop, Bldg. 2450, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 1-5.
For more information on preventing pollution and proper disposal of universal, household hazardous waste or electronics waste contact 95th Environmental Management at (661) 277-1401.
Historically, Edwards has been a leader in its efforts to reduce hazardous waste, environmental managers say. It implemented a pharmacy system for its hazardous substances more than a decade ago that greatly reduced the amount of hazardous waste generated by the base.
The base also has gotten rid of some hazardous substances altogether by substituting nonhazardous and environmentally friendly materials for hazardous ones. This product replacement not only creates a healthier environment for Airmen, but also reduces the need for hazardous material disposal.
This effort is ongoing throughout the service.
"I call upon every Airman to re-think how we approach waste in the Air Force," said Terry Yonkers, assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and logistics. "As the Air Force becomes leaner, we need to reduce the burden of waste disposal costs that impact our budget. Ask yourself what you can do to be a little greener and leaner in your workplace."
This year, the Air Force is kicking off a campaign to promote individual efforts by members of the Air Force Family to aid the environment.
The Air Force is promoting a "Blue Acts of Green" social media page. Team Edwards Airmen and their families are encouraged to visit the site at www.facebook.com/blueactsofgreen to commit to perform an act of "green" at home or work to benefit the environment and prevent pollution.
"We must make a habit of being green, making the most of all the resources we use and looking for opportunities to conserve today for a secure tomorrow," said Erin Conaton, undersecretary of the Air Force and the Air Force senior sustainability officer.
Part of the effort this year is for individuals and groups to take the time and make the effort to enjoy the environment through self-guided tours. Environmental Management has information about self-guided tours at Piute Ponds, Branch Park on base and the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve West of Lancaster.
"This Earth Day is not about learning about the Earth, it is about experiencing the Earth," said Robert Wood, Edwards Environmental Management chief.
"Take your office on a field trip. Go watch birds at Piute Ponds, take a hike in the desert, collect cans and bottles and exchange them for cash at the recycling center at the landfill. Give the money to the AFA drive. Go outside and enjoy the day," Wood said.
There is a caveat about visiting Piute Ponds, however. A special access permit is required for anyone to visit the area. Anyone who would like to visit Piute Ponds should call Wanda Deal at (661) 277-1426.
Anyone with base access may visit Branch Park at their leisure. No special access is required there.
For more information on Earth Day activities or information on self-guided tours, please contact (661) 277-1401 or visit go.usa.gov/yrl.