Giant Earth Day Ball Aims to Educate

Northampton Public Schools Join Together to Make a Giant Earth Day Ball!

Charlotte Causton on Northampton, MA writes:

"The ball will be available to schools and environmental groups wishing to display it as an educational tool in promoting respect for the environment and the reduction of waste," writes Charlotte Causton.

All Northampton Public Schools will work together in April to make the largest ball ever made entirely of single-use plastic shopping bags. The event will culminate on April 23rd at Northampton’s Earth Day celebration in Pulaski Park when the ball will be rolled down the streets of Northampton and into the park. In a tribute to the inspiring kids’ book, Theo and the Giant Plastic Ball, published by the United Nations Environmental Program, Green Action in Northampton Schools, GREEN Northampton and the Center for EcoTechnology are coordinating this project to raise awareness of the environmental impact of using plastic bags in stores and get Northampton to become a bring your own bag shopping district.


This project is an opportunity for Northampton schools to work together and make an impact on our local environment. All four elementary schools in the district, JFK Middle School, and the Environmental Club at Northampton High School have signed up for the program and teachers and students are busy collecting bags. Classrooms are collecting used plastic bags from their homes and family/friends’ homes that are being tied together to form a rope. The number of bags tied together by the class are being counted and recorded. Plastic bag ropes from the different classrooms will be joined together and a total count taken on 15 April, after which the ropes will be picked up by volunteers and taken to a central location. During spring break students and volunteers will assemble the ball ready for the Earth Day celebration on Saturday April 23rd. After the Earth Day celebration, the ball will be available to schools and environmental groups wishing to display it as an educational tool in promoting respect for the environment and the reduction of waste. Teachers are also using this project as an educational opportunity for hands-on math and science/energy conservation investigations.


WGBY, GREEN Northampton and the City of Northampton have teamed up as they did in April 2010 to hold an Earth Day Eco- Fair on April 23 in Pulaski Park in Northampton. The Giant Earth Day Ball will be the star among one of over 20 environmental and recycling based exhibits and activities for families and children available between 10a.m.-4:00pm. WGBY will hold an Earth Day film festival at the Academy of Music. WRSI  will once again provide a stage and live entertainment from 12:00-4:00pm in Pulaski park and in Amherst at the Amherst Sustainability Festival which will also be held on the town Common from 10-4:00. The Earth day Planning committee hopes that Fair goers will visit both venues and encourage visitors to take a bus or use the bike trail to the different events.

Photo credit: (ccl) mtsofan

Green Mama: Waste-Free Home

Hilltown Families Contributing Writer

At Peace with Living Green

If you are a diehard environmentalist you may be familiar with the name Bea Johnson. And if you weren’t aware of her before there’s a good chance that name is now ringing a bell with families everywhere.

An Associated Press article that appeared in local newspapers across the country earlier this month documented Johnson’s efforts to create a “zero waste” lifestyle within her home and highlighted her blog ( which documents the past year and a half of her journey. And if the new comments on her blog are any indication of her growing popularity, then it won’t be long before Bea Johnson becomes a household name.

Johnson’s waste-free endeavors put this green mama’s conservation efforts to shame.

Johnson shops in bulk with reusable bags, jars, etc. from home to aid her in her commitment to create a wrapper-free home. According to the article she uses sealable glass jars to house her meat from the butcher and fills reusable bags made from bed sheets with rice, pasta, oatmeal and nuts. She also blogs about her attempts to have a waste-free Christmas and this fashion-conscious mom replenishes her wardrobe each year by shopping at thrift stores.

After reading this article I was inspired to peruse my kitchen to see what extra waste we McIlquhams could eliminate in our home and was both pleased and appalled at what I found.

First I never did understand why grocery stores had plastic bags to house one’s fruits and vegetables. For years I found myself filling a bag with apples only to take them out as soon as I got home to wash them and put them in a bowl on the counter and throw out the bag. Without realizing it our family had eliminated the extra plastic when we switched from buying most of our produce at the grocery store to purchasing it from an organic market in town. The vegetables come in returnable plastic containers or cardboard boxes with no other packaging whatsoever. We recently switched to a cardboard box which we recycle because my husband kept hoarding the plastic containers and forgetting to return them, but I think we may rethink this choice for the future.

Thanks to Johnson I also ran into the grocery store the other day to pick up a red onion and passed on the plastic bag. Why didn’t I figure that one out before is beyond me?

I was feeling pretty pleased with myself until I looked in the pantry.  Read the rest of this entry »

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