Random Acts of Beauty

Posted by on Feb 6, 2017 in News

In 1982, Anne Herbert wrote, “Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty,” on her placemat at a diner in California. Inspired by the phrase “random acts of violence and senseless acts of cruelty,” Anne began to think that kindness could build on itself just as much as violence has. In 1993, she published her book, “Random Acts of Kindness,” which has since brought popularity to the phrase and the actions behind it. In honor of Random Acts of Kindness Day on February 17, here are a few ways you can spread kindness to the environment around you and inspire others to do the same: Image courtesy of www.cliparts.co REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE We’ve all heard it before: “Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.” Each helps cut down on the amount of waste we throw away, and conserves natural resources, landfill space and energy. Plus they save the land! Reduce: When traveling to work or running errands about town, carpooling not only gives you company, but cuts down on the number of cars and vehicles on the road. Fewer cars means there is less carbon and pollution getting into the air, protecting the environment by keeping the air, water and land cleaner. When purchasing products, look for items without excessive packaging that has to be recycled, or worse, landfilled. Reuse: Take your time spring-cleaning this year and be creative; think about finding another use for items you no longer need and give them a new life! By upcycling old items, you are reducing the amount of waste that goes into the landfill, which helps the environment greatly! Recycle: No list claiming to improve the world would be complete without mentioning recycling. We all know it matters. When you’re done with that aluminum soda can or plastic water bottle sitting next to you, make sure you put it in the recycle bin! And the same for cardboard and paper containers, plus the newspapers, periodicals and mail that you receive. Image courtesy of www.theprepperpodcast.com ENJOY NATURE Take a walk and enjoy the beauty that surrounds you. Pick up any litter you see and dispose of it properly. By taking time to appreciate the Earth and all it has to offer, the more we will value it. Plant a garden and grow your own greens or, if there is no space for an outdoor garden, grow a mini herb garden in a windowsill. Gardening is not only good for the soul, eating what you grow is good for your health and highly satisfying! A garden will also beautify your yard, while providing for you at the same time. Image courtesy of www.3starwaste.com  BE YOUR OWN CLEANUP Each spring, Keep Arkansas Beautiful hosts the Great American Cleanup in conjunction with Keep America Beautiful. While this campaign yields amazing results annually, our environment needs help more than just once a year, and you can take a lead role on the front line...

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Bald Eagle Watch Month: How litter can endanger birds

Posted by on Jan 9, 2017 in News, Uncategorized

Image courtesy of www.wallup.net There is nothing quite like catching a glimpse of a bald eagle soaring over the trees. Unfortunately, habitat destruction and degradation, illegal shooting, litter and contamination of its food source all led to the decline in population of our national symbol roughly 40 years ago. The once endangered species has made a remarkable comeback due to strong conservation efforts, protective legislation and increased awareness. Arkansas is home to a large number of the species, making the sport of watching them increasingly popular across The Natural State. While conservation efforts are widespread across the country, it is important for us to understand what we can do to ensure the bald eagle’s safe future. Here are some contributing factors that led to the bald eagle’s decline, and ways that we can ensure the bald eagle’s safety for years to come: BIG, BAD Balloons Bald Eagle caught in string Image courtesy of www.huffingtonpost.com Despite the innocence and beauty of balloons, they have unintended dangerous consequences for birds and other wildlife. The natural latex used is biodegradable and environmentally safe, yet the balloons are treated with multiple preservatives and chemicals to safeguard against bacterial decomposition. Aside from the chemical dangers, balloons can also cause starvation and tangling among the bird populations. Through inadvertent ingestion, birds mistake the balloon for food and consequently cannot digest the latex. Therefore, the bird is unable to take in enough nutrition to survive, thus starving. If the balloons released have ribbon or string attached, tangling is a huge threat as well. Tangle injuries can include malformed nestling growth, open wounds from chafing as the tangle tightens or mobility restriction of the legs, wings or bill, all making the bird more vulnerable to predators and infections. Perilous Plastic Image courtesy of www.cbc.com In many areas around the globe, birds inadvertently feed on plastic floating on the water mistaking it for food, which can directly lead to death and even the death of their young. Large plastic debris, such as bottles, has major effects on bird populations as it can strangle them and can also transport alien species to new waters. Millimeter-sized plastic pellets (what is used in most plastic production) soak up toxic chemicals from water, poisoning the creatures that swallow them. Because these plastic pellets are magnets for toxic chemicals they effectively become poison pills. Japanese researchers found that concentrations of these chemicals were as much as a million times higher than in the water. Seeing that the bald eagle’s primary food source consists of water prey, they are incredibly susceptible to the dangers of plastic litter. What You Can Do Knowing what we do about the decline of the bald eagle population in America and the factors contributing to it, we must all make the conscious effort to be proactive in the conservation of our national symbol. By simply reducing our use of...

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14,000 Arkansans produce $1.83 million in volunteer value to state in removing public waste in 2016

Posted by on Jan 6, 2017 in News, Press Release

LITTLE ROCK (Jan. 5, 2017) – More than 14,000 Arkansas residents volunteered in local activities across the state in 2016 to help make their communities clean and green by picking up more than 2.3 million pounds of litter, bulky waste and used tires to enhance environmental health and beauty. Twice each year, the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission (KAB) coordinates and promotes statewide community cleanups and litter pickups: the spring Great American Cleanup™ in Arkansas and the fall Great Arkansas Cleanup. The Great American Cleanup is a national program of Keep America Beautiful Inc. and is supported in Arkansas by KAB. All Arkansas communities were encouraged to organize cleanup teams of local volunteers to remove litter, collect recyclable items and enhance civic pride. Volunteers picked up litter from more than 2,500 miles of roadway and waterway; 17,400 acres of parks and public areas were cleaned up; and more than 4,000 trees, shrubs and flowers were planted during 304 local cleanup events statewide. Cleanup volunteers were supplied with Glad® trash bags, gloves and safety vests. “We are especially proud of those who take pride in Arkansas by participating in local cleanup events,” said Robert Phelps, executive director of KAB. “These initiatives not only create cleaner Arkansas communities but they also increase personal accountability for our state’s cleanliness and beauty while teaching and encouraging positive behavior among younger generations.” The Great American Cleanup begins each year in March and concludes at the end of May. The Great Arkansas Cleanup begins in September and continues through October. About Keep Arkansas Beautiful The Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission (KAB), consisting of a professional staff and a nine-member advisory board appointed by the governor, is a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. As a certified state affiliate of Keep America Beautiful Inc., KAB inspires and educates individuals to reduce litter, recycle and keep Arkansas beautiful. KAB is funded through its 1 percent portion of the eighth-cent Conservation Tax and, by mobilizing volunteers, returns to the state a cost benefit of more than $6 in community service for each program dollar spent. For more information, visit KeepArkansasBeautiful.com or stay connected on Facebook, Twitter,Instagram and YouTube. About Keep America Beautiful Inc. Keep America Beautiful is the nation’s premier community improvement organization. Founded in 1953, the nonprofit has a network of affiliates around the U.S. focused on litter prevention, waste reduction and beautification. Keep America Beautiful is recognized as the leader in changing attitudes and behaviors affecting our community environments. Through its actions, Keep America Beautiful helps create communities that are socially connected, environmentally healthy and economically sound. Today, it continues to be the most credible organization in its three focus areas by vigorously pursuing its guiding principles of education, volunteerism, partnership and individual responsibility. For more information, visit kab.org....

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Celebrating with a Green Holiday

Posted by on Dec 5, 2016 in News

‘Tis the season for enormous holiday light displays, copious amounts of gift-wrapping and enough food leftovers to keep us fed for weeks! Celebrating the holidays with family traditions is especially important this time of year but can also create a plethora of unnecessary waste. With a little planning, you can experience the joy of giving and receiving but in a way that benefits our environment. Here are a few ideas to enjoy a clean and green holiday: Image courtesy of www.gatheringgreen.com Oh, (Real) Christmas Tree! Most find it easy to reuse an artificial tree each year, but choosing to purchase a real tree is the more sustainable route. And, let’s be honest: it SMELLS like Christmas! Plastic trees use far more resources in the production of the tree because of the PVC and other types of plastic and in the packaging and shipping of the final product. Artificial trees will last forever, yet most are discarded within six years because repetitive use causes them to become less attractive. If just 10 percent of households planning on purchasing an artificial tree this year purchased a natural one instead, 44 million pounds of non-biodegradable materials could be diverted from landfills (Source: ADEQ). Rather than eventually sending plastic trees to the landfills, purchase a real tree. Not only are they renewable each year, they also contribute to better air quality during the growing season and are also biodegradable and upcyclable! Here is a list of Christmas tree dropoff locations provided by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission where your real tree can become natural fish habitat after the holidays.  Image courtesy of www.christmaslightsetc.com Deck the Halls with LED! LEDs are super-efficient lights that use much less energy than old-fashioned, incandescent bulbs. Luckily for you, these sparkly and bright lights are not only trending in holiday decorations, they are quickly replacing traditional lights. Although the initial cost of LED lights are considerably higher than incandescent, the real savings is long-term on the amount of energy the bulbs will ultimately use. Not only will LEDs bring down the cost of your electricity bill over time, but they are also more durable, lasting approximately 10-25 times longer than incandescent. (Sources: Huffington Post and WeCheckEnergy.com)  Image courtesy of www.hgtv.com Don’t Scrap Your Gift Wrap Don’t get on Santa’s naughty list this year; instead, remember to be thoughtful about your gift wrap! Most gift wraps include metallic properties, which cannot be recycled. The best method to avoid the issue of metallic gift wrap is to simply create your own! Newspaper, magazines or brown craft paper with your own artwork add a personal touch to your gifts while also being environmentally friendly. And, to cut down on additional paper waste, try sending e-cards or cards made from recycled paper. Sending e-cards will also save you time and money. Give our environment a gift this year and use these...

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Fall Great Arkansas Cleanup removes 210,000+ lbs of litter

Posted by on Dec 2, 2016 in News

Volunteers participating in the Great Arkansas Cleanup, a three-month event hosted by Keep Arkansas Beautiful (KAB), removed approximately 210,500 pounds of litter during the statewide cleanup effort. The Great Arkansas Cleanup involved more than 7,300 volunteers at 144 events statewide who contributed a combined 42,958 hours toward litter pickup. These cleanups cleared litter from 541 miles of roadside and 1,194 miles of waterways. “We appreciate the passion and dedication of our volunteers during the Great Arkansas Cleanup and all year round,” said Bob Phelps, executive director of Keep Arkansas Beautiful. “It is because of each and every one of you, that we are able to produce such outstanding results and continue to keep Arkansas clean and green. Volunteers are not paid, not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless.” About the Great Arkansas Cleanup The Great Arkansas Cleanup grew out of an effort that began 46 years ago as the Greers Ferry Lake and Little Red River Cleanup. In 1985, U.S. Sen. Dale Bumpers guided legislation requiring an annual pickup event during the weekend after Labor Day on all federal lands. This law, the Carl Garner Federal Lands Cleanup Act, honors the founder of the event. Mr. Garner continued his advocacy for a clean and litter-free environment as a member of the Keep Arkansas Beautiful Foundation board of directors until his death in 2014. KAB organized the first statewide GAC in...

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