By Mati Spencer
"The fate of the living planet is the most important issue facing mankind," said Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970. Though many scientists disagree with the gravity of this statement, Nelson believed the people of modern times were not aware of the declining state of the earth's environment.
This lack of knowledge led Nelson to organize the first Earth day on April 22, 1970, to raise national environmental awareness. Area residents are encouraged to celebrate earth day on April 22 with fun projects, such as planting a tree or beginning a garden.
Another fun project to try is recycling old T-shirts into backpacks. To do this, get an old T-shirt that might have otherwise been thrown in the trash, and lay it out flat. Secondly, cut the shirt from armpit to armpit, and save the trunk portion. Then turn the shirt inside-out, and on the side where the top was cut off, use a needle and thread to sew a simple stitch across the border of the shirt.
Make sure the stitch lays about a half an inch from the edge of the shirt, because this will serve as the bottom of the backpack. Once finished, turn the shirt right-side-out. Next, snip the hem on the other side of the shirt, which was originally the bottom of the shirt, about halfway, making sure not to cut the stitching. Then fasten a large safety pin to one end of a cotton clothesline cord, and feed the safety-pin end of the cord through the hem until it comes out the other end.
After this, attach one eyelet or grommet onto each corner at the sewn end of the backpack. Most hobby stores carry eyelets and grommets. Finally, take the two ends of clothesline cord coming out of the shirt hem, and tie them tightly through the grommets at the corners of the backpack, making sure there is enough clothesline cord fed through the hem for the backpack to hang loosely. These will become the straps.
Once the straps are fastened, the backpack is finished, and the result is a stylish recycled backpack out of a shirt that would have otherwise been sitting in a landfill.
Earth day is a time to remember that humans remain responsible for the care-taking of the earth, and this responsibility includes recycling and reusing resources.