Take part in Earth Day on Tuesday and help the planet

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— Today, in eight cities across the country, musicians from the Marley family to Menudo will come together to celebrate Earth Day, our yearly reminder of environmental stewardship.

Although the closest of those concerts is in Denver, there are plenty of environmentally conscious efforts going on in the Yampa Valley year-round.

Yampa Valley Recycles bought 5,000 polypropylene bags to resell to local businesses in February, for example, as part of an effort to cut the waste produced by plastic grocery bags.

The Steamboat Chamber Resort Association now has 34 members in its voluntary Sustainable Business Program, which recognizes a desire to learn sustainable practices in local outlets.

On Tuesday - which officially is Earth Day - the city of Steamboat Springs' Green Team will recognize the city department with the best idea of how to become more sustainable. Green Team chairman Bob Keenan said the group, which for now strictly is voluntary, is working to set standards for green practices in city facilities.

"We're working on establishing some baselines so that we can quantify efforts to reduce energy consumption and water use, and also the amount of trash we produce," Keenan said. That has included LEED certification for the recently completed Steamboat Springs Community Center, as well as getting renewable energy credits for a few other city buildings.

"We're working toward getting buildings as efficient as they can be," he said.

For your personal celebration of personal efficiency, celebrate Earth Day by walking to the store with your reusable grocery bag. Use as little water and electricity as you can. Hug a tree if you want. And check the list of resources in this section for tips on making life in Routt County a little bit greener.

- Margaret Hair, Pilot & Today staff

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