By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jeffry Willadsen, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Northwest
EVERETT, Wash. – Sailors and civilians on Naval Station Everett (NSE) participated in an Earth Day celebration promoting environmental awareness, April 22.
The purpose of the celebration was to encourage environmental consciousness while informing Sailors of ways they can help protect the environment in their daily lives, and included a variety of activities like a dumpster dive competition, base cleanup, and chili cook-off.
“We only have one place to live, one planet Earth, so we need to do our best to preserve it,” said Lt. j.g. Allison Clarke, NSE assistant public works officer.
The celebration was kicked off with the annual dumpster dive competition, in which six teams of participating Sailors and civilians sorted through dumpsters separating recyclable items into different bins. After 30 minutes, the team with the most separated recyclables won the competition.
The event was designed to raise awareness on the amount of recyclable items that are thrown into garbage bins on a regular basis.
“A lot of our trash that we dispose of on a daily basis can actually be recycled and reused at a later date,” said Clarke. “It’s good for the Sailors to see exactly what their efforts do to contribute to the reduced waste for this base.”
After the dumpster dive, Sailors assembled in groups to pick up trash on NSE. The festivities continued with a chili cook-off and an awards ceremony honoring the winners of the dumpster dive and other environmental protection contests held around the base in honor of Earth Day.
“[We’re] focusing on the environment and what we can do to keep our base green,” said Denise Lesniak, NSE integrated solid waste manager, who helped organize NSE Earth Day 2014. “This year’s Earth Day events have been fabulous with participation and attendance. We had quite a large crowd here in our Jackson Plaza to support the event.”
Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Matthew Smith, a Sailor who participated in the base cleanup, said that environmental stewardship is vital and raising awareness through events like Earth Day is also important.
“The Earth is ours … We need to take care of what we have,” said Smith. “If we don’t, we won’t have something for the next generation to enjoy.”
In recent years, NSE has made being environmentally conscious a high priority, activating several initiatives aimed at preserving the environment.
NSE set a goal last year to recycle half of the trash generated by the naval station. The goal was exceeded with NSE recycling 52 percent of their trash output.
Other environmental initiatives include the use of biofuel on NSE and the installation of energy efficient light emitting diodes all over the base.
Capt. James Duke, NSE commanding officer, said that such programs are not only smart for the environment, but also for the Navy’s budget.
“This is all important to help be good stewards of the environment,” said Duke. “It also helps save the Navy some money.”
Due to the surge in recycling, NSE saved around $170,000 in landfill fees last year. The energy efficient bulbs will also help save the base money on electricity costs.
“It’s the right thing to do, be good stewards of the environment and create practices that are sustainable for the long run,” said Duke.