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Seaman Valentin Zherelyev, a corpsman with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (All Weather) 225, moves an old concrete slab for Earth Day near Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., April 22. Marines and Sailors also picked up litter near the roads.

Photo by Cpl. Melissa Eschenbrenner

Earth Day for Miramar: Marines give back to Mother Nature

22 Apr 2014 | Lance Cpl. Christopher Johns

Marines and Sailors with Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., and 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing celebrated Earth Day in a variety of ways aboard the installation, April 22.

Marines cleaned Kearny Villa road and the Harris Plant road off-ramp and held an event for those aboard the air station to bring items like motor oil, batteries, and appliances to be recycled free of charge. Environmental personnel also held a water conservation and native plant program at the child day care center for the children.

“We only have one Earth, and if we do something to destroy it, that’s it, our species is done,” said Lt. Prince Abubakari, environmental operations officer for the installation. “With that in mind we have to make sure we preserve the earth, utilize the resources at our disposal and use them well – making sure that generations after us have the same things we did.”

Earth Day originated in 1969 globally, and was adopted by the United States in 1970. Since then, it has been celebrated every year on April 22. The point of the day is to celebrate Earth and try and find balance between enjoying the planet and using its resources responsibly, according to Lt. Col. Jim Szepesy, director for Miramar’s environmental management services department.

Szepesy, Abubakari and environmental specialists work daily to educate Marines aboard the air station about what they can do to preserve our precious resources.

“We have become a [leader] for installations around us because of how strict we are about conserving our resources,” said Abubakari. “One resource we don’t have enough of here in California is water because it’s a semi-desert environment. We try to educate Marines about their water consumption with gardening by using local plants – they use very little water and are relatively low maintenance.”

Everyone can help do their part conserving water by taking shorter showers or turning the faucet off while shaving before work.

Marines, Sailors and families aboard the installation clean up the environment as another way to conserve our resources this Earth Day.

“Trash and litter are a major source of contamination,” said Szepesy. “Contamination leads to the degradation of our earth and our resources – so by cleaning it up not only does it make the installation look better, but it can prevent or eliminate some hazardous materials from contaminating our soil and our resources.”

Sorting recyclable materials from daily trash can be as simple as separating the materials before throwing them away. It saves time, man hours and funds used to sort through the garbage at the dump.

The air station plays a large role in the local environment. Aircraft are constantly flying, using fuel and creating noise that affects wildlife.

“If we have a good understanding of our actions, we can become conscious of it and we can take action to mitigate our impact on the environment,” said Abubakari.

As Earth Day draws to a close, the impact people have on the environment won’t change overnight, but if everyone does their part, a difference can be made.

3rd Marine Aircraft Wing