McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

April 24, 2012

Observe Eco-activism with the McAlester News-Capital

By Brandy Brackett
Page Designer

McALESTER — It’s easy to think the big picture is McAlester or Pittsburg County, but if you look bigger than that — really big — the “big” picture is Earth.

April 22 was Earth Day, a global holiday with roots starting in San Francisco in 1969. Those roots observe a different date — March 21, the Spring Equinox Earth Day. According to Mother Nature Network, San Francisco’s role in Earth Day is particularly fitting, given the origins of its name. The city is named after St. Francis, who was the patron saint of ecology.

The evolution of Earth Day, April 22, has grown to an international eco-activism.

From its first observance in 1970, it has opened avenues of new public attitudes.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Public opinion polls indicate that a permanent change in national priorities followed Earth Day 1970. When polled in May 1971, 25 percent of the U.S. public declared protecting the environment to be an important goal, a 2,500-percent increase over 1969.”

According to MNN, by 1990, Earth Day was celebrated across the globe by 10 times as many people — 200 million.

Today, more than 1 billion people in more than 180 countries observe Earth Day either by pledging “Acts of Green” through the Earth Day Network, by word on social networks or attending events, according to MNN.

To participate in “Acts of Green,” visit

An easy way to pledge with “Acts of Green” is to reuse the McAlester News-Capital paper.

And there are many ways to reuse the News-Capital newspaper. Many people have heard of cleaning glass, starting fires, etc., but there are more useful ways to reuse the News-Capital.

Some readers of the News-Capital have already found ways to recycle the newsprint — or even reduce the use of newsprint. Like many newspapers across the nation, newspapers are offering information online. In December 2011, the News-Capital added the SmartEdition.

The electronic edition, SmartEdition, of our the News-Capital offers galleries of ads, classifieds, full-length stories and photos in a full-page form as it’s published in newsprint.

Subscription rates for the SmartEdition range from $1.50 per edition to $4.75 for a month to $50 for a year, accessible daily via computer or handheld devices.

To recycle the newspaper and other items, Pride in McAlester has a recycling center at the north end of the Farmer’s Market parking lot at South Main Street and Choctaw Avenue. Attendants are at the center from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday, but offer a 24/7 drop-off.

For more information about the PIM recycling center, call 918-426-4444.

A similar holiday to Earth Day is Arbor Day and it’s celebrated on the last Friday of April. This year it will be April 27. For more than 135 years, Arbor Day has been celebrated by planting trees, beautification of communities, races, hikes and appreciation of earth’s beauty. To learn more about Arbor Day, visit

Contact Brandy Brackett at

Ways to reuse the News-Capital:

1. Clean windows or glass: Dip crumpled newsprint in water, add a splash of white vinegar if you like, and clean glass tables, glass vases and windows.

2. Get the gunk up: For the really messy cleanup, use a crumpled piece of newsprint to get the gunk up before using a sponge or towel.

3. Make a weed barrier: Lay down flat pieces of newsprint before adding soil and plants.

4. Pack it up: Instead of packing peanuts or bubble wrap, use newsprint to wrap up valuables for shipping, storing or moving. Fill in gaps in boxes with crumpled newsprint for tight fitting.

5. Wrap some gifts: Find colorful news pages for gift wrap. The funny pages make great wrapping.

6. Ripen fruit: For example, fill a box with peaches and cover them with newsprint. The ripening process should speed up.

7. Burn it up: Instead of a start log or lighter fluid to begin a campfire or bonfire, roll up newsprint and tuck under logs and twigs. Light the newsprint and the heat should start the fire.

8. Use as liner: A few sheets of newsprint could easily line a bird cage, dry aquarium, trash can, animal crate, cat litter tray, etc. Newsprint can help absorb any additional mess left behind.

9. Seed-starting pots: There are hundreds of websites and online videos to explain how to make seed-starting pots out of newspaper. Go to our website,, and click on this story. A link will be provided.

10. Cook fish: Gut and clean the fish, season the inside, roll up the fish tightly in a couple sheets of water-soaked newsprint, place the wrapped fish directly on hot coals and cook for approximately 10 minutes on each side. Remove from heat, open the fish package and the skin may peel with the newsprint. Cooking times vary with the size of fish.

11. Shine up that sink: Grab a wad of newsprint and buff stainless steel sinks to a shine.

12. Paper maché: Here’s a recipe for paper maché.

1 1/2 cups water

1 cup flour

1/4 cup white Elmer’s glue

Mix all ingredients, dip 2-inch wide strips of newsprint into mixture, use two fingers to remove excess mixture, apply strips to created base and build up. Let the creativity begin.

13: Origami: Newsprint may be a little flimsy, but can still be used for the Japanese art of paper folding. Learn to make a water bomb and have entertainment for hours in the backyard.