EARTH DAY STARTS IN OWN BACKYARD

April 21, 2002 11:00 pm

Today is Earth Day. The celebration was conceived first in 1970 by Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, and reminds us to look around our neighborhoods to see what we can do to improve the environment.

Earth Day starts at home, and it does have its heroes. Jack and Sharon Cody come to mind. The Salem couple for 25 years have not had garbage collected at the curb. In fact, their back deck is made of recycled materials, which is part of the reason they were recently honored as Marion County's Family Recycler of the Year. Some ways the Codys recycle include composting food into potting soil, using and reusing canvas grocery bags, using shower water to give plants a drink, and using hair trimmings to stuff quilts.

Such aggressive recycling is not for everyone. Yet we all need to show in our own ways environmental responsibility and do what we can to ensure an ecological balance and come clean. We need to encourage such technologies as solar electricity and wind power, and try to keep an eye on global issues such as tropical forests, half of which have been destroyed in the past 100 years, the habitat destruction and excessive hunting that has led to 180 critically endangered mammals worldwide, and human population growth.

Although we need to think globally, we can act locally, remembering the only person we can really control is ourself. The Codys provide a model for personal action and what can be done. Such activities as recycling, demanding recycled products, car pooling or bicycling to work to counteract to some degree the United States' 20 million barrels a day oil habit — these steps may not make us known as green activists. Yet these are several ways we can make our own part of the world a little better.

BEAT L.A.

The Oregon Trail Blazers have once again made the National Basketball Association playoffs and face the unenviable task of trying to dethrone the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers.

Did we say Oregon? We meant Oregon. Portland's team is truly all of Oregon's team, win or lose. The Trail Blazers play an exciting brand of basketball, and first-year coach Maurice Cheeks has proved he belongs among the better basketball minds and personal motivators in the game.

Basketball is not for everyone, especially now that spring is in full bloom. But win or lose, Blazer fans young and old are also in full bloom come spring. The task ahead is daunting. The Lakers, under the guidance of guru Phil Jackson, have shown the talent, chemistry and confidence to be the best in the world.

The Blazers have a long ways to go to again reach the pinnacle of world champs provided by Bill Walton and gang in 1977. But Oregon's team, notwithstanding the charges guard Damon Stoudamire faces, are on the upward track.