Save Our Planet: 750 Everyday Ways You Can Help Clean Up the Earth.

Save Our Planet: 750 Everyday Ways You Can Help Clean Up the Earth. – book reviews

Wallace Kaufmann

Save Our Planet: 750 Everyday Ways You Can Help Clean Up the Earth, by Diane MacEachern. Dell Publishing, 666 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10103 (1990). 208 pps. Softcover, $9.95.

Almost every homeowner who thinks in horror of a toxic waste dump being located near his or her home lives happily on top of that very thing. By government regulation and lender insistence, the ground under our homes has been saturated with chlordane and heptachlor, two very lethal and long-lasting chemicals. They keep our homes safe from termites. We either tolerate the chemicals or try not to know about them. We also store considerable quantities of hazardous materials in our kitchens, bathrooms, and shops and dispose of their remnants in the local sewers or landfills.

The point here, and in Save Our Planet, is that pollution is not a conspiracy of greedy business interests against innocent and unwilling citizens. Given enough temptation and enough ignorance, we are all willing to risk our lives and our neighbors’ lives.

When we understand the psychology of the problem in the bathroom, we will be better prepared to negotiate the problem in the corporate board room. We all put our pants on one leg at a time. It is going too far to suggest that people who live in contaminated houses shouldn’t throw stones, but they should at least tend to their own homes if they want to be convincing as their brother’s keeper. This book answers the defensive question, Yes, but what can I do?” The answer here is plenty. And most of what MacEachern suggests is easy.

This is a basement-to-attic, curb-to-backyard inventory of things in a home or apartment that affect the quality of the environment. Many of the measures MacEachern recommends seem so simple and small as to be silly, but she makes sure you know how they add up. “Each year Americans Association, and other corporations, and foundations. Raised from all sources to date: some $450,000.

Added to that pot is some $250,000 worth of lumber donated by the Timber Association of California, with giants like Louisiana Pacific, Fibreboard, and Georgia Pacific joining smaller outfits like Hi Ridge Lumber, Marysville Forest Products, and Big Valley Lumber Company in the collaborative effort.

And volunteers with the Telephone Pioneers of America, a group of former phone company workers, showed up one weekend to build 1,100 feet of wheelchair ramps under the trees in a colossal, 2,000-person-hour effort, while jeld-Wed Foundation of Klamath Falls, Oregon, donated thousands of dollars worth of doors and windows.

To help those who will use the camp, the Forest Service was able to arrange with Eagle Lake Children’s Charities the best deal of all: use of the property on a permittee basis for just $30 per year-one dollar per acre.

Forest Service Public Affairs Officer Dave Reider, who spent a holiday showing me this spot last summer, propped his back against a towering ponderosa and reflected: “This place is dynamite! It’s the kind of location people could kill for. “

Unique in the National Forest System as a dedicated site built in partnership with volunteers, the camp is the kind of project that’s bringing scores of groups together with the agency in cooperative projects that are blooming nationwide. Their goal: to protect forest resources-and to find and develop richer, fuller uses for them.

Alas, however, a reality.

Cabins are now being built at Camp Ronald McDonald to house a total of about 100 kids at a time (2,000 per summer). Together with the renovation of Gallatin House for the staff and special buildings for on-site treatment of the kids, the overall cost will run better than $2 million-considerably more than is now in the till. So fundraising continues. You may show your support for the new camp by sending a check to Eagle Lake Children’s Charities, Inc., 1500 West El Camino, Suite 210, Sacramento, CA 95833.

“We hope to open the camp in midsummer of 1990,” says Reider, “if we receive the funding we need. “

Meanwhile, resident foreman Mike Bass of Baumgart Construction in Boise, Idaho, donated part of his wages so that construction could continue through the harsh winter.

Hundreds of kids who’ve heard about the camp, are looking forward much like Malvena Gallatin probably did in 1913-to a special time, a special peace, that seems to be found only under those towering ponderosas with the lake shimmering nearby.

For some of those young campers, that experience may be the highlight of an all-too-short lifetime. AF CHECKING OUT THE CAMP

Eagle Lake and the new Camp Ronald McDonald, approximately 40 miles east of Lassen National Park in northeastern California, are worth including on a spring or summer trip. The lake is located 105 miles northwest of Reno via U.S. Highway 395, and a similar distance eastward from Red Bluff, California, on State Highway 36.

The Forest Service runs four scenic campgrounds at the south end of the lake just west of Gallatin Beach, where the new childrens’ camp is under construction. Boat-launch ramps, swimming beaches, a marina, and information services are all available at the campgrounds.

Bald eagles, ospreys, white pelicans, grebes, pronghorn antelope, and deer frequent the area, which is an excellent take-off point for backcountry and volcanic cave exploring, and for medium difficulty mountain climbing on 7,000foot peaks nearby.

Further information: Lassen National Forest, 55 South Sacramento, Susanville, CA 96130, 9161257-2151.

COPYRIGHT 1990 American Forests

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