Today is Earth Day, and as we are regularly inundated with news of Earth’s impending doom – such as the article on The Huffington Post today that states that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been consistently above 400 parts per million for the last month – I am finding it difficult to be inspired. But librarians and information professionals can, at the very least, work to expand awareness of climate change, and on more than just one day out of every year.
Seed libraries, library greenhouses, and even library apiaries, are all great ideas for ways to engage patrons in activities and discussions about the environment. What more can we do? NASA is hoping to raise awareness through its Earth Day Global Selfie event; Global Soundscapes is putting out a call for citizen scientists to record the sounds of the world around them. Libraries can similarly engage patrons through social media and crowdsourcing efforts calling for users to participate with their local environment. Libraries could hold workshops using tools available from NASA and climate change groups like 350.org. Libraries can host electronic recycling and repair events and workshops, and facilitate discussions about waste and re-use.
Finally, libraries could partner with, and utilize the resources of, local and national parks. Here in New York, Freshkills Park is being built on the site of what was the largest landfill in the world which, when complete, will be the largest park in New York City. Parts of Freshkills Park are accessible by tour now, and it truly looks inspiring.