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A crowd of nearly 300 people participated in the last year's Corvallis Sustainability Coalition's at the CH2M Hill Alumni Center on the Oregon State University campus. The 2019 edition of the event is scheduled for Thursday, March 7. 

The two main forces on the Earth’s environment are technology and population. In his book, "Maybe One: A Case for Smaller Families," Bill McKibben suggests that the planet is dangerously overcrowded. If more folks decided to have only one child, it could go a long way to reduce pressure on the Earth’s resources.

A child born in the United States uses 13 times the resources of one born in Brazil. An adult in this country uses on average 35 times the resources of an adult in India. We also create half of the world’s waste while being only 5 percent of the population of the planet.

I recently read an article in Time, “The Gray Wave Set to Crash into China” by Charlie Campbell and Hainan Island (Feb. 18-25) which discusses the problem of that country's one-child policy, introduced in 1980 in the hopes of reducing hunger and privation. The policy was changed to two children per family in 2016 and may be set to change again.

The Time article lists complications from this policy, including a lack of children to care for the burgeoning retiree population and the decline of economic growth with decreased population. There was much detail on the need to care for the aging population and the gender imbalance from the one-child policy (sons more valued than daughters for many) and only one reference to the slowing of economic growth.

Perhaps we need to have a conversation about economic growth. Our current system needs constant resources and more consumers to be “healthy” while the Earth is a finite system with finite resources. If the article suggests that having more consumers is good for the economy where does that leave the planet? My house is perfect for two to four people, but if I put 35 in it would be seriously challenged to function well. Figuring out a way to have a steady-state economy that does not depend on constant cancerous growth could put us in a healthier place. Which policymakers and citizens are ready to begin the discussion?

Our community’s March events invite us to stay local and learn about our bio-region and its wonders — another way to reduce our resource use by staying local.

• "Dishing the Dirt on Fertilizer Calculations:" March 7, 7 p.m., Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church meeting room, 2650 NW Highland Drive. Learn about soil, what it is and how it works, and then digging into what fertilizer is and a systematic approach to making fertilizer decisions - but it all begins with a soil test. Learn how to take a proper sample and bring your soil test result, using the resources listed below:

Soil Sampling — A guide to collecting soils samples for farms and gardens: https://tinyurl.com/y2v2k6u6

Soil Sampling — OSU Central Analytical Laboratory: How to take a soil sample: https://tinyurl.com/y4qozpze

Cost is $5 for nonmembers, free for Evening Garden Club members. For more information contact Christinasgarden12@gmail.com.

• Sustainability Fair and Town Hall: March 7. Fair runs from 5 to 7 p.m. Town Hall is from 7 to 9 p.m. Oregon State University, CH2M HILL Alumni Center, 725 SW 26th Street. More than 50 local exhibitors, a buffet of local organic food, and music by the Nick Rivard Jazz Guitar Duo. Keynote is by Mary Christina Wood, “Immediate Action: Responding to Our Climate Emergency.” For more information, email info@sustainablecorvallis.org or call 541-230-1237.

• Winter Wildlife Field Day at Finley: March 9, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Finley National Wildlife Headquarters and the Homer Campbell Trail, 26208 Finley Refuge Road. Free activities for all ages at this event include exploring nature’s predators, activities and games, live birds, nature walks, more. For more information, contact S. Bartling at 541-757-7236.

• Audubon Field Trip: March 9, 7:30 a.m.-noon, meet at the Benton Center to carpool, 756 NW Polk Avenue. Free and open to all ages. For more information, contact proebstw@gmail.com.

• Nature Play Preschool Open House: March 10, 4 p.m., Avery House Nature Center, 1200 SW Avery Park Drive. Tour the NaturePlay Preschool for ages 3-7 to learn about its outdoor science early learning program. Free. For more information, contact nima@corvallisenvironmentalcenter.org.

School’s Out Adventure – Coastal Engineering by Bike: March 13, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Avery House Nature Center, 1200 SW Avery Park Drive. Children ages 5-10 can learn about bikes, energy and coastal explorations. Registration required: $50 a day or $125 for all three days. For more information, contact nima@corvallisenvironmentalcenter.org.

• New Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades: March 14, 6:30 p.m., Corvallis-Benton County Public Library, 645 NW Monroe Ave. Free presentation by Oregon hiking guru William Sullivan. For more information, contact Dave Eckert at deckert@willamettewatershed.com.

• Birding in Colombia or Australia: March 21, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Chintimini Senior Center, 2601 NW Tyler Ave. Free presentation by Bill Probesting. All ages welcome. For more information, contact mark.baldwin2@comcast.net.

• Conservation Book Club: March 21, 6-8 p.m., location given upon registration. Participants will discuss “Diary of a Citizen Scientist: Chasing Tiger Beetles and Other New Ways of Engaging the World” by Sharman Apt Russell. Free. To register, contact http://greenbeltlandtrust.org/event/conservation-book-club/.

• School’s Out Adventure — Spring Salmon Study: March 25-27, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Avery House Nature Center, 1200 SW Avery Park Drive. Children ages 5-10 can learn about salmon and stream ecosystems. Registration required: $50 a day or $125 for all three days. For more information, contact nima@corvallisenvironmentalcenter.org.

• Thirty Years of Conservation – A Retrospective and Look Forward: March 27, 6-8 p.m., Corvallis-Benton County Public Library. The Greenbelt Land Trust will share a history of the organization as it marks 30 years and outline its vision for the next 30. Free. For more information, contact greenbeltlandtrust.org/event/30-years-of-conservation-a-retrospective-and-look-forward/.

• Oregon White Oaks – A Naturalist Walk: March 30, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Owens Farm. Naturalists Lisa Millbank and Don Boucher lead a free exploration of a hidden Willamette Valley gem. Register at greenbeltlandtrust.org/event/oregon-white-oaks-a-naturalist-walk/.

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Maureen Beezhold has been writing the Earth Year monthly column since 1999. She works with the sustainability committee at the Beit Am Jewish Committee and organizes a monthly walk for Corvallis area interfaith leaders. She can be reached at 541-752-3517 or maureentns@peak.org.

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