Earth Day 2017 – why and how does the KMC celebrate it?

by Susanne Panzer and Anna Lessire
86th Civil Engineer Squadron Installation Management

Some people would argue that every day is “Earth Day,” but the “Earth Day” we talk about is an annual event celebrated April 22, first only conducted in the USA and now popular worldwide. 

The international way to express the importance of this meaningful day is shown by executing special events and celebrations which demonstrate the support for environmental protection.  The most common practice is to plant new trees, which is also the biggest event being held on Ramstein. This year, about 85 students and teachers will participate to plant approximately 1,500 trees. Ramstein’s contributions towards a goal which was set during last year’s Earth Day with the theme “Trees for the Earth,” planting 7.8 billion trees – one for every person on the planet – until Earth Day 2020, which marks the 50th anniversary of the Earth Day celebration.

A tree planting event with elementary school students takes place 9 to 11 a.m. today on Ramstein’s Woodlawn Golf Course to be followed by a tree planting ceremony with 86th Civil Engineer Group leadership and the German Forest departments at 11 a.m. to noon at the golf course’s parking lot.

Beside the tree planting events, more activities took place this week. Ramstein Middle School students got to witness the base falconer and his birds of prey executing a training session. While attendees observed the falcon’s flying performances, which are usually used to scare away other large birds from the flightline to ensure safety for our pilots, the falconer and his team educated the audience on the importance of their daily activities. The team also talked and educated about the nature of the animals, their protection status and the audience got to help feeding the birds and carry them around by wearing the special falconers’ gauntlet. 

Another educational event will be a guided tour through the base-owned water supply plant, where most of the potable water used at Ramstein is treated, stored, maintained and controlled. Attendees will learn about the technical equipment used to clean and protect this important natural resource. The water plant tour is scheduled for 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. April 28 and May 5 for middle school students.

And last, but definitely not least, Scouts will clean up the roadsides of the road leading to the Ramstein West Gate from 9 to 11 a.m. April 29. 

For more information call the 86th Civil Engineer Squadron Installation Management at 480-5086/7712 or email Also, if you have another event in mind, we are happy to support you putting it into practice.

Watch out for a detailed Earth Day article in the KA with substantial tips on how to lessen the burden we all put on good Mother Earth!

A falcon sits on a special falconers’ gauntlet. Students were able to carry it around during a training session. — Photo by Susanne Panzer


Air Force Facts

Last year, the Air Force spent $8.45 billion to purchase electricity and fuel for operations; 86 percent for aviation fuel, 11 percent for installation electricity and heat, and 3 percent for ground vehicle and equipment fuel.

Over the last 5 years, the Air Force has decreased overall energy consumption by over 20 percent, while the amount spent for energy increased by 4 percent.

In fiscal year (FY) 2015, the Air Force had approximately 311 renewable energy projects in operation or under construction at 104 sites.

More than 6 percent of the total Air Force electricity came from renewable sources in FY15.

The Air Force has reduced the energy intensity of its buildings by more than 24 percent since 2003.

Two solar arrays at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, are capable of meeting 42 percent of the energy needed to power the installation. Together, the photovoltaic field is the largest in the Department of Defense.

A 16.4-megawatt photovoltaic solar array at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, is powerful enough to power 3,000 homes annually, resulting in an average cost avoidance of $500,000.

Elemendorf Landfill’s Gas Waste-to-Energy Plant at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska generates more than 56,000 megawatt-hours, or 26.2 percent of Elmendorf’s electrical load.

The Air Force is using third-party financing tools, such as energy savings performance contracts, utilities privatization, power purchase agreements and enhanced use leases to enhance energy infrastructure.

In FY2015, the Air Force funded four water projects which are expected to save 25.3 million gallons of potable water annually.

Privatization of the water distribution and wastewater collection systems at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, is expected to save 22 million gallons of water per year over the course of the 50-year contract.

Air Force installations currently harbor 115 Threatened or Endangered species on 45 installations.

The Air Force manages 9 million acres, including 598,000 acres of forest, 266,000 acres of wetlands, and 200 miles of coastline.

General Facts

A hot water faucet that leaks one drop per second can add up to 165 gallons per month. That’s more water than the average person uses in in two weeks!

Every time you open the refrigerator door, up to 30 percent of the cold air can escape.

Recycling just one aluminum beverage can saves enough energy to run a 100-watt bulb for 20 hours, a computer for 3 hours or a TV for 2 hours.

If every U.S. home replaced just one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR efficient light bulb, the amount of energy saved could light more than 3 million homes for a year and prevent 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year, equivalent to the emissions of about 800,000 cars.

Recycling 125 aluminum cans saves enough energy to power one home for a day.

A compact fluorescent bulb (CFL) uses 75 percent less energy than a traditional incandescent bulb.

In the average home, 75 percent of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off. The average desktop computer idles at 80 watts, while the average laptop idles at 20 watts. An average gaming system uses about 200 watts whether idle or active.

Idle power consumes more electricity than all the solar panels in America combined.

Approximately 30 percent of energy used in buildings is used inefficiently or unnecessarily.

Cooling and heating costs make up approximately half of an average U.S. home’s total energy bill.

On average, one pool pump consumes electricity equal to 44 percent of the annual electricity consumption of a typical California household. There are more than 7 million pools in America.

The average five-minute shower uses 15 to 25 gallons of water, while the average bath requires 37 gallons.

Leaving the water running while brushing teeth wastes about five gallons of water.

For more information on the Air Force’s Earth Day efforts, visit