Forty-four years ago, 20 million people across America gathered to celebrate the first Earth Day. The environment was in a state of crisis.
Cities were buried in smog, and polluted rivers were catching fire.
We’ve come a long way since then.
More and more of us are turning down the thermostat in the winter and turning it up in the summer.
We turn off lights when we leave a room, and we make a habit of recycling, reducing the amount of trash our communities send to landfills.
People are taking notice of the need to protect our planet for future generations, and they’re rolling up their sleeves to take action.
We can, of course, do more. So grab your work boots and gloves and join the Wildcat Guardians and Friends of the Howard County Trails on Saturday for one of the area’s largest one-day cleanups, well ahead of Earth Day activities April 22.
The two groups will lead volunteers in removing litter and debris along the Wildcat Creek, its adjacent parks and nearby pedestrian trails. Everyone will meet at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Kokomo Senior Center in Foster Park.
But if you can’t make it Saturday, there’s one thing we all can do for the environment: plant a tree.
The National Arbor Day Foundation notes trees are like the lungs of the planet. They breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen.
Additionally, they provide habitat for birds and other wildlife, and they reduce erosion by storing water and breaking the force of rain as it falls.
Trees also absorb sound and reduce noise pollution, and they can keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
We can also turn down our thermostats in the winter and turn them up in the summer. Experts say a difference of just 1 degree can reduce energy costs by about 4 percent.
We can use ceiling fans throughout the year. By reversing their direction in the winter, the blades push air down, helping to keep rooms warmer.
We can repair leaky faucets. One drip per second can waste as much as 10 gallons of water in a week.
We can cut water use at least in half by installing low-flow faucets and low-flow toilets.
Let’s all rededicate ourselves to the welfare of the planet.