Making a difference: Earth Day 2002

On Saturday morning, while many are at home drooling on their pillows, hundreds of runners will set out on a 5k run along West River Drive. These aren’t your average joggers out for a scenic,

On Saturday morning, while many are at home drooling on their pillows, hundreds of runners will set out on a 5k run along West River Drive. These aren’t your average joggers out for a scenic, heart-pounding workout, trying to whip their bodies into shape. As cars whiz by, pumping carbon monoxide into the universe, they are running for the right to breathe clean air.

As part of its Earth Day celebration on April 20, the Clean Air Council, a non-profit environmental organization, will host its 21st annual 5k run.

“It’s our largest fundraising event of the year,” said event coordinator Renee Gilinger. “And of course we want to promote Earth Day and give people the chance to take stock and ask, ‘Could I do more?'”

Many have answered with a resounding “yes.”

Gilinger expects over 700 people to register for the run, the largest turnout to date.

“The race in size has majorly expanded,” Gilinger said. “It’s pretty exciting.”

At 9 a.m., the runners will start across from the Philadelphia Art Museum on a flat and fast 3.1 mile course along West River Drive.

Following the run, Clean Air will host a free picnic/Earth Day celebration that includes a tree planting ceremony, a compost bin demonstration, alternative fuel vehicles fair and other eco-conscious themes.

During the celebration, you can sign an Earth Day message on a SEPTA bus that will be carried throughout the city. There will also be environmentally-safe giveaways like compact florescent light bulbs and natural cleaning products.

With this being Earth Day weekend, help save the planet in your own way. There are numerous ways to increase your ecological awareness. Some of them are as simple as changing a light bulb.

Over the weekend, learn about global warming and what you can do about it, while getting a silken hand massage, compliments of Aveda Lifestyle Store, located at 1625 Chestnut St. in The Shops at Liberty Place. Aveda will also be providing free stress relief to burned-out Earth-lovers in its 3-minute massage chair.

“This year we wanted to concentrate on stress relief,” said Jae Barnes of Aveda. “Just as the Earth needs relief, so do people.”

This year Aveda, a manufacturer of environmental lifestyle products, is teaming up with Clean Air-Cool Planet, an organization that tries to reduce the threat of global warming.

“Aveda is very environmentally conscious,” said Teresa Brescia, of Brescia, Aveda’s Concept Salon at 118 South St.

Brescia will be handing out information about climate change and asking people to be part of the solutions.

“This year we’re asking people to sign up and pledge that they will help save the environment in little ways,” Brescia said.

Some solutions Clean Air-Cool Planet suggest include biking, walking or taking public transportation more often; turning off the television or lights when you leave the room; and recycling newspapers, cardboard, aluminum cans and plastics.

On Sunday, April 21, the Philadelphia Zoo kicks off Earth Day with a conservation festival that focuses on nature’s most valuable elements.

“The theme this year is the three most valuable elements on Earth – land, water and air,” said director of Educational Programs Kristen Lewis.

Through interactive Conservation Stations with activities like papermaking, Lewis said the zoo wants to educate people on ways they can conserve and protect these elements at home.

Lewis said recycling paper is important because 80 percent of the paper-making process requires water.

In addition to making paper and finding out why composting is cool, people can sift through litter to make their own creations.

“We’re collecting items that you might normally recycle in your house and coming up with another fun way of looking at it,” Lewis said.

With household items like jugs, cartons and old newspapers, Lewis said the Litter Critters will convert garbage into toys.

After visiting the Conservation Stations, people will have the opportunity to make a pledge to the environment on miniature globes, to be displayed at the zoo throughout the week.

“On the globe is a note that says, ‘I pledge to,'” Lewis said. “The person would fill in one way they would protect land, water and air.”

For more information about:

• Clean-Air Council and how to register for the 5k run — visit or contact 215-567-4004, extension 221.

• Clean Air-Cool Planet and climate change solutions — visit

• The Philadelphia Zoo’s Conservation Festival and ways to conserve — contact 215-243-5612.

Kia Gregory can be reached at

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