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      50th Anniversary of Earth Day

      Due to COVID-19, big gatherings are not part of Earth Day 2020, the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. But there’s so much you can do at home in honor of Earth Day to help shape a better future for our planet and our island home.

      Check out these ideas:

      1. Get informed. Learn what sea level rise caused by climate change will do to the shorelines, reefs and your favorite beaches in Maui County. Visit the Hawaii Sea Level Rise Viewer at https://www.pacioos.hawaii.edu/shoreline/slr-hawaii/.

      2. Share what you’re observing here in Hawaii — beach loss, shoreline erosion, declining coral reefs, fewer reef fish — with friends and family worldwide. We need an informed public to understand what’s at stake and to vote for candidates who will actively work to fight climate change.

      3. Help keep Maui County’s corals as resilient and as healthy as possible by keeping reef-harming chemicals out of the ocean. Choose sunscreens that don’t contain reef-harming oxybenzone and octinoxate. Learn more at https://www.mauireefs.org/sunscreens/

      4. Remember, whatever you use in your home or yard will eventually find its way into the ocean. Pledge to stop using pesticides and herbicides in your landscaping, home and place of business. If you live in a condo, talk with your property manager about choosing non-toxic alternatives.

      5. Dispose of unwanted or expired prescription medicines properly — never flush them down your toilet. When medications are flushed down a toilet or drain, they enter our wastewater treatment systems, which are not designed to remove medications. Some medications such as hormones and antidepressants include endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs), which interfere with the reproduction and normal growth of many aquatic species, including fish.

      Visit https://www.cvs.com/content/safer-communities-locate to find the CVS location nearest you that will accept unwanted medications.

      6. Join the movement to prevent plastic pollution. Carry a set of lightweight cutlery in your purse or car so you can skip single use plastic utensils. Consider packaging as well as price when you shop. Learn more about the bill passed recently by the Maui County Council that bans nearly all sales and use of plastic disposable food ware in Maui County. Encourage Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino’s to approve it.

      https://www.mauinews.com/news/local-news/2020/04/near-ban-on-plastic-disposable-utensils-okd/

      7. Help prevent sediment-laden stormwater runoff; it is harmful to Maui’s nearshore reefs. In your yard, cover bare soil with mulch or plants to prevent runoff. Create a small soil berm in a ring around new plants to contain water. Incorporate permeable materials (like permeable pavers) into your patios, driveway, and walkways.

      8. Educate the next generation. Check out the American Museum of Natural History’s curated list of Earth Day videos and plan an Earth Day watch party with your family. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLrfcruGtplwH76Sryqpk7nXf0YIEM0piZ

      Humanity is working together in amazing ways to fight the coronavirus pandemic. The impossible is possible if we all work together for our planet. Happy Earth Day!

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