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Celebrate Earth Day

Thursday is an important day for our planet — it’s Earth Day.

The theme of this year’s recognition is Restore our Earth, and it represents a chance for everyone to recognize and appreciate the land on which we live.

Every year, Americans join people around the world in the celebration of Earth Day. The event has become the largest, most celebrated environmental event worldwide that serves as a reminder to respect the environment. This year’s activities have been spread across three days, with a youth climate summit held Tuesday, a global education summit set for today and the Earth Day Live digital event scheduled for Thursday.

Looking back to the late 1960s, America was plagued with smokestacks, sludge and smog polluting the air, land, rivers and lakes. But Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, a former senator from Wisconsin, changed how Americans lived by bringing the condition of the environment to the forefront.

On that April day in 1970, approximately 20 million Americans began their fight for a healthier environment. They began to speak out against oil spills, toxic landfills, power plants, pesticides and the extinction of wildlife, just to name a few. On Thursday, it is estimated that more than 1 billion people will take part in an Earth Day activity.

Eventually, Earth Day led to creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species acts. Today, we live in a cleaner world because of the efforts of so many. But much more can be done.

There are many ways we each can help to improve the environment. We can conserve water by turning off spigots while brushing our teeth. We can recycle cans and plastics, buy recycled products and compost. We can walk, carpool with co-workers and keep our vehicles tuned up. As each passing generation since the first Earth Day in 1970 grows to adulthood, the environment improves because environmental awareness improves.

Thus, that one day each year is a worthwhile time to remember that we’re all stewards of the planet we live on.

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