Earth Day News From Kids
Three reports from Scholastic News Kid Reporters in Oregon, New Jersey, and New York about some big environmental issues in their states
TOP: Superstorm Sandy in 2012 wrecked the homes of both people and local wildlife in places like Long Island. (Andrea Booher / FEMA)
BOTTOM: Debris and wreckage from Japan has littered the west coast of the United States since the earthquake and tsunami disaster in 2011. (The Daily News / Bill Wagner / AP Images)
This Monday, April 22, is Earth Day, when people all around the world take time to do something good for the environment. The first Earth Day was observed in 1970. Gaylord Nelson, who was a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin at the time, helped organize students across the country to hold “teach-ins,” where people could learn about environmental problems and ways to treat Earth right.
The Scholastic News Kids Press Corps is keeping that tradition strong. Each of the three stories below from student reporters is about a big issue facing the environment in their communities today and what people are doing to help.
TSUNAMI DEBRIS IN OREGON
Every day is Earth Day for Oregon organizations that work to keep Northwest streams and beaches beautiful. This is not an easy task. Marine litter and debris have become serious environmental problems—not just in Oregon, but also around the world.
Marine mammals, seabirds, and other marine life can mistake garbage for food, which can lead to malnutrition. Birds and marine life die from strangulation by getting caught up in pieces of plastic litter. Marine debris has been a problem for years in Oregon, but the Japanese tsunami disaster in 2011 has made things worse.
“After the tsunami disaster happened in Japan, we needed to prepare for what was washing onto the coast,” says Briana Goodwin, program director for an environmental cleanup organization in Oregon. “Some of the larger debris and hazardous litter can’t be handled safely by volunteers.”
NEW YORK’S CHANGING COASTLINE
Long Island, next to New York City, is 118 miles long and the most populated island in the United States. It’s filled with beaches, wetlands, and marshes. It’s also home to a lot of wildlife.
But after Superstorm Sandy hit in October, habitats on Long Island for both people and local wildlife were left threatened and exposed. Trees were blown down, which affected where deer and birds can live. The downed trees also fell on homes and cars.
The bigger issue, though, was the strong storm surge that Sandy caused. The sea washed over barrier islands and eroded Long Island’s beaches. Not only did this damage homes, but it also caused serious ecological damage to Long Island.
RETHINKING NEW JERSEY’S SHORE
When Superstorm Sandy made landfall in October, one of the hardest-hit areas was the New Jersey coast. The area is still recovering.
“There are certain towns in lower Ocean County that you would think got hit last week,” says Bob Hilton, executive director of the Jersey Shore Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Hilton has been faced with the tough task of trying to revitalize the damaged shore. It isn’t an easy job. But Jersey faces a bigger, more difficult problem: climate change.
When Sandy hit, many people thought it could be either a once-in-100-years storm or a bad sign for the American and global weather patterns. Because of increasing temperatures and rising sea levels, many scientists believe it’s the latter.
Jacob Schroeder is a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps,