Now that environmentalism is "as American as apple pie...


May 04, 1991|By John Javna | John Javna,The EarthWorks Group

Now that environmentalism is "as American as apple pie, there are plenty of simple ways to become an activist. One example: Help turn your local public library into an environmental education center. Libraries are an important part of American society.

Every year, according to the American Library Association, 58 percent of all Americans visit libraries. That's more than the number of people who vote in presidential elections.

In Chicago, for example, more than half a million people use the public library in a single month!

Even more impressive: 42 million students visit libraries every week. This means that by working through libraries, you can help educate a vitally important segment of society.

The easiest way to bring environmentalism to the library is to make sure there's a good selection of "green" books and magazines available. How? Make a phone call and request that the library give priority to buying them. Or ask for a specific book. Librarians we've spoken to say they'd welcome input from the community -- even those in small libraries with limited budgets.

For instance, in New Boston, Texas, a town of 5,000 people, the librarian told me: "We've had quite a few calls for environmental books. We have about three in our collection, but we're working on it! I'm also planning to order some more environmental magazines because kids need them to do reports."

What you can do:

* If you can afford it, consider buying a book you think is important and donating it to the library. But check first with the librarian; every library has its own procedure for accepting donations. Many have to approve a book before it can be included in the collection.

* If your library doesn't have the money to expand its magazine collection, work with it to start a "green magazine" fund. People can sign up to help pay for subscriptions to environmental magazines like Buzzworm, Garbage, E and the Green Consumer Letter. These are among the best sources of information on the environment.

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