Michigan Earth Day Pharmaceutical Collection: Third Annual Earth Keeper Clean Sweep Targets All Medicines

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Michigan Earth Day 2007 Pharmaceutical Clean Sweep on Saturday April 21, 2007 across the Upper Peninsula: out-of-date and unwanted medicines of all kinds will be accepted from 9 a.m. to 12 noon local time at each of the two dozen free drop off sites across northern Michigan. In 2006, over 320 tons of electronic waste (old/broken computers, cell phones etc.) were dropped off in just three hours by an estimated 10,000 U.P. residents. All items were recycled. In 2005, the first clean sweep collected 45 tons of household poisons and vehicle batteries. The hazardous waste, including over two pounds of raw liquid mercury, were properly disposed. The third annual Earth Keeper Clean Sweep is again sponsored by nine U.P. faith communities with 130,000 members (40 percent of U.P. residents), the Superior Watershed Partnership, the Cedar Tree Institute, and the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. The project involves the congregations of over 120 churches and temples representing nine faith communities (Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, United Methodist Church, Unitarian Universalist, Baha'i, Jewish, and Zen Buddhist). The Superior Watershed Partnership http://www.superiorwatersheds.org

Protecting Michigan's environment in a measurable way is the goal of an annual Earth Day project that this year is targeting pharmaceuticals.

The third annual Earth Keeper Clean Sweep comes after nearly 400 tons of hazardous waste was turned in by over 10,000 residents during the previous two Earth Day collections across northern Michigan.

Prescription medication and over-the-counter medicines will be collected at about two dozen (free) Upper Peninsula drop off sites on Earth Day 2007. There is no charge and the public and small businesses are welcome.

The drop off sites are spread out over more than 400 miles of northern Michigan, believed to be the largest geographic pharmaceutical collection ever held in the United States.

The 2007 Pharmaceutical Clean Sweep is targeting out-of-date and unwanted medications of all kinds, according to Carl Lindquist, executive director of the Superior Watershed Partnership.

"By addressing the issue of pharmaceuticals in our waters the Earth Keepers are once again at the forefront nationally," said Lindquist, co-organizer.

The clean sweep is again sponsored by nine U.P. faith communities with 130,000 members at over 140 churches/temples, the Superior Watershed Partnership, the Cedar Tree Institute, and the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC).

The project includes the Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, United Methodist Church, Unitarian Universalist, Baha'i, Jewish, and Zen Buddhist faiths.

"As leftover and waste pharmaceuticals get flushed down drains, research is showing that they are increasingly being detected in our lakes and rivers at levels that could be causing harm to the environment and ecosystem," said Elizabeth LaPlante, senior manager for the EPA Great Lakes National Programs Office in Chicago, Ill

Studies show 80 percent of the U.S. rivers sampled "tested positive for a range of pharmaceuticals including antibiotics, birth control hormones, antidepressants, veterinary drugs and other medications, Lindquist said.

Rev. Jon Magnuson, clean sweep co-organizer, said that combining religion and environmental protection is, "another step of a deepening connection between the traditions of faith and the critical challenges of the environment."

In 2006, over 320 tons of electronic waste (computers, cell phones etc.) was turned in by 10,000 residents. In 2005, 45 tons of household poisons and vehicle batteries were collected.

"We are all responsible for taking care of the precious environment that has been given to us from our Creator," said KBIC Tribal Council President Susan LaFernier.

Partners include Thrivent Financial, a Wisconsin based "full service financial services company," U.S. Senator Carl Levin's office, and the EPA.

Northern Michigan University EarthKeeper (NMU EK) Student Team project director Jennifer Simula said, "all NMU EarthKeepers are talking to everyone they know about the dangers of improperly-discarded pharmaceuticals and what they're doing to our waterways."

NMU EK Student Team Coordinator Ashley Ormson, 20, said, "we feel the Earth Keeper culture has really spread, not only in our region but internationally as well."

Bishop Alexander K. Sample, Roman Catholic Diocese of Marquette, said he is proud that Catholics, "can be part of this continuing effort to care for God's creation, which has been entrusted to our good stewardship."

Lutheran Bishop Thomas A. Skrenes of the Northern Great Lakes Synod said, "medical prescription drugs keep people out of the hospital, help many to heal and are an important part of our health care system."

Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan Bishop James Kelsey said the clean sweep protects the environment while helping to ensure that the U.P. senior population is not consuming ineffective out-of-date medicines.

United Methodist Church Marquette District Superintendent Grant Lobb said the clean sweep is a "great example" of what can happen "when individuals with similar convictions join together" to protect the Earth.

The head priest of the U.P. Zen Buddhist community said "this sort of vigilance and care" is needed to protect the planet adding similar projects should be "vastly expanded" by others.

"The churches and temples are leading the way. Now, if only the politicians can catch up," said Reverend Tesshin Paul Lehmberg, leader of Lake Superior Zendo, a Zen Buddhist temple.

The U.P. Jewish community are turning their commitment to Tikkun Olam and Passover from a traditional observance to social action.

"This year's Clean Sweep of outdated and no longer used medication demonstrates how comprehensive our commitment is to keeping our water pure and our people healthy," said Jewish team member Jacob Silver.

Rev. Dave Van Dam, the Executive Presbyter at the Presbytery of Mackinac, said, "stewardship of the earth is a mandate for all who dwell on the earth - the human family has been called to be instruments of stewardship in behalf of the one to whom it all belongs."

Dr. Rodney Clarken, chair of the Marquette Baha'i spiritual assembly, said the project is, "not only in the obvious benefit to others on our planet who benefit by our taking better care our physical environment, but equally by our social and spiritual working together of different people and faiths."

Marquette Unitarian Universalist Congregation Earth Keeper team member Gail Griffith said, "the complex mixture of these chemicals, including antidepressants, hormones, blood pressure medications, antibiotics, and the like, can affect the reproductive activity of a number of aquatic species."

The Earth Keeper Initiative received several prestigious honors in 2006 including an international Environmental Stewardship award from the Lake Superior Binational Program and the State of the Lakes Ecosystem Conference (SOLEC) Award.

The Earth Keepers were named one of the 15 hardest working non-profit projects in America in 2006 by World Magazine.

For more information contact the Superior Watershed Partnership at 906-228-6095 or Greg at 906-475-5068.

For more details and the rest of the article use this link:
http://www.cedartreeinstitute.com/ek2007.html

email: earthkeeper @ charter.net

Earth Keeper TV:
http://earthkeepers.blip.tv/

Related websites:

The Superior Watershed Partnership
http://www.superiorwatersheds.org

The Cedar Tree Institute:
http://www.cedartreeinstitute.com

Lake Superior Interfaith Communication Network:
http://www.lakesuperiorinterfaith.com

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2006 Earth Keeper Clean Sweep: A laughing nine-year-old Eve McCowen, a home schooled third grader, and two other members of the Marquette Baha'i community, helps stack old electronics on Earth Day 2006 at the Messiah Lutheran Church in Marquette. McCowen was dwarfed by the huge piles of electronics but was the first to run up to a car that needed to be unloaded . The Baha'i youngster is the daughter of Dennis and Lisa McCowen of Marquette (pictured next to Eve). "Recycling is good for the environment because when you throw stuff away it can get in the earth's soil and water and that isn't good for the earth," said little Eve McCowen. (Photo by Greg Peterson)2006 Earth Keeper Clean Sweep: A laughing nine-year-old Eve McCowen, a home schooled third grader, and two other members of the Marquette Baha'i community, helps stack old electronics on Earth Day 2006 at the Messiah Lutheran Church in Marquette. McCowen was dwarfed by the huge piles of electronics but was the first to run up to a car that needed to be unloaded . The Baha'i youngster is the daughter of Dennis and Lisa McCowen of Marquette (pictured next to Eve). "Recycling is good for the environment because when you throw stuff away it can get in the earth's soil and water and that isn't good for the earth," said little Eve McCowen. (Photo by Greg Peterson)jpeg image of smiling youngster and her mother stacking computers during 2006 clean sweep at Marquette Lutheran church. 2006 Earth Keeper Clean Sweep: Volunteers from several faiths and the boy scouts stack old computers on Earth Day 2006 at the Messiah Lutheran Church in Marquette, one of two dozen collection sites across northern Michigan. Over 320 tons was collected during the second annual Earth Keeper Clean Sweep. (Photo by Greg Peterson)2006 Earth Keeper Clean Sweep: Volunteers from several faiths and the boy scouts stack old computers on Earth Day 2006 at the Messiah Lutheran Church in Marquette, one of two dozen collection sites across northern Michigan. Over 320 tons was collected during the second annual Earth Keeper Clean Sweep. (Photo by Greg Peterson)jpeg image of boy scouts and volunteers stacking and unloading computers at a Marquette, MI church during the 2006 clean sweep2006 Earth Keeper Clean Sweep: Northern Michigan University EarthKeeper (NMU EK) Student Teammember Rosemary Mifsud, 19, of Sturgis, MI volunteers with other student team members on Earth Day 2006 during the first annual Earth Keeper Clean Sweep at the St Joseph Catholic Church collection site in Ishpeming. Carrying outdated computer monitors are NMU graduate student Jennifer Simula (second from right), the NMU EK Student Team project director, and Mifsud (left) who is majoring in metalsmithing and jewelry design. Both are Simula and Mifsud are members of the ELCA. Northern Great Lakes Synod Lutheran Bishop Thomas Skrenes of Marquette (background) also volunteered at the Catholic church. (Photo by Greg Peterson)2006 Earth Keeper Clean Sweep: Northern Michigan University EarthKeeper (NMU EK) Student Teammember Rosemary Mifsud, 19, of Sturgis, MI volunteers with other student team members on Earth Day 2006 during the first annual Earth Keeper Clean Sweep at the St Joseph Catholic Church collection site in Ishpeming. Carrying outdated computer monitors are NMU graduate student Jennifer Simula (second from right), the NMU EK Student Team project director, and Mifsud (left) who is majoring in metalsmithing and jewelry design. Both are Simula and Mifsud are members of the ELCA. Northern Great Lakes Synod Lutheran Bishop Thomas Skrenes of Marquette (background) also volunteered at the Catholic church. (Photo by Greg Peterson)Numerous NMU students and the Lutheran Bishop unload and stack old computers at Catholic church in Ishpeming, MI during 2006 clean sweep2005 Earth Keeper Clean Sweep: Six-year-old Grace Feliz of Marquette proudly turns in batteries and other household hazardous waste to site coordinator Bill Rigby on Earth Day 2005 at the First Presbyterian Church collection site in Marquette. Feliz was accompanied by her mother, Tracy, during the first annual Earth Keeper Clean Sweep. The Cherry Creek Elementary School kindergarten student (in 2005), who attends the First United Methodist Church, said she was studying recycling in class. The public turned in 45 tons of household poisons, drain cleaners, vehicle batteries and two pounds of raw liquid mercury during the first clean sweep in 2005. (Photo by Greg Peterson)2005 Earth Keeper Clean Sweep: Six-year-old Grace Feliz of Marquette proudly turns in batteries and other household hazardous waste to site coordinator Bill Rigby on Earth Day 2005 at the First Presbyterian Church collection site in Marquette. Feliz was accompanied by her mother, Tracy, during the first annual Earth Keeper Clean Sweep. The Cherry Creek Elementary School kindergarten student (in 2005), who attends the First United Methodist Church, said she was studying recycling in class. The public turned in 45 tons of household poisons, drain cleaners, vehicle batteries and two pounds of raw liquid mercury during the first clean sweep in 2005. (Photo by Greg Peterson)jpeg image of young girl turning in batteries at a Presbyterian church in Marquette, MI during the first clean sweep in 2005. 2005 Earth Keeper Clean Sweep: At the Grace United Methodist Church collection site in Marquette, a member of Lake Superior Zendo (Marquette Zen Buddhist Temple) assists Marquette County Chief Circuit Court Judge Thomas L. Solka who was turning in household hazardous waste on Earth Day 2005 during the first Earth Keeper Clean Sweep. (Photo by Greg Peterson)2005 Earth Keeper Clean Sweep: At the Grace United Methodist Church collection site in Marquette, a member of Lake Superior Zendo (Marquette Zen Buddhist Temple) assists Marquette County Chief Circuit Court Judge Thomas L. Solka who was turning in household hazardous waste on Earth Day 2005 during the first Earth Keeper Clean Sweep. (Photo by Greg Peterson)Michigan judge turns in hazardous products to a Buddhist volunteer at a United Methodist Church in Marquette, MI during 2005 clean sweep.2006 Earth Keeper Clean Sweep: Old and broken modern day computers and cell phones were collected on Mackinac Island by old fashioned means - horses pulling drays. Motorized vehicles are prohibited on Mackinac Island, which will again be a collection site in on Earth Day 2007. The electronics were shipped by ferry to a collection site at the St. Ignace United Methodist Church. (Photo courtesy the Mackinac Island Recycling Program)2006 Earth Keeper Clean Sweep: Old and broken modern day computers and cell phones were collected on Mackinac Island by old fashioned means - horses pulling drays. Motorized vehicles are prohibited on Mackinac Island, which will again be a collection site in on Earth Day 2007. The electronics were shipped by ferry to a collection site at the St. Ignace United Methodist Church. (Photo courtesy the Mackinac Island Recycling Program)jpeg image of Old fashioned horses with drays hauling old and broken modern day computers on Mackinac Island, MI during the 2006 clean sweep.