By Jaye Sudar
Earth Day will celebrate its 39th birthday on April 22. In 1969, Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson announced that there would be a nationwide environmental education demonstration in the spring of 1970. That event on April 22nd gave birth to the environmental movement in the United States. Over 20 million Americans participated. The goal of this event was to promote awareness of the Earth′s damaged environment and what could be done to improve the health of the planet.
Earth Day brought together thousands of people working in various groups, from people worried about oil spills and pesticides to wildlife activists and clean energy advocates. It gave them a common denominator. As environmental groups around the world saw how well this worked out, they too started celebrating Earth Day as a way to promote environmental awareness.
The United Nations sponsored further worldwide activities and 141 countries were participating by 1990. In 2007, over a billion people worldwide participated in environmental events. It is the only event jointly celebrated by everyone around the world. Over 165 countries are expected to participate this year.
Now, what can we do locally? For Earth Day, sponsor a trash pick-up or recycling drive. Get together with friends to clean up a park. Clean up your yard and plant local varieties of flowers that are drought resistant. On a daily basis, save energy, recycle and reuse, use less water, and be responsible with toxic waste.
Our schools are pitching in with lots of events. Each class at Peakview has been learning about ecology and participating in various activities. Gardner School will be picking up litter along the two sections of HWY 69 they sponsor. They will also be weeding and cleaning up the school garden. La Veta schools will be planting a tree on April 22nd to honor Emery Ashby. On the 23rd, the La Veta schools will be doing a clean up in and around La Veta.
Earth Day is a 24-hour snapshot of what we ought to be doing every day. Keeping the planet clean is akin to cleaning your room. If you did a little bit every day, it wouldn′t be so difficult. Only cleaning up once a year makes the task much harder. Next time you′re out for a walk, pick up the trash you pass on the street. Recycle that glass or aluminum, and don′t forget to take those cloth bags to the grocery store.