Between greenhouse gases, oil spills, and growing numbers of endangered species, few would disagree that our planet has taken a beating over the past couple of centuries. Is it too late to clean up our act and help foster a better ecosystem for the next generation? Hardly. Earth Day, observed on April 22, is the perfect chance for your family to get outdoors, celebrate Mother Nature, and begin making environmentally conscious choices.
"Earth Day is important," says Phillip Buckland, a spokesman for the Earth Day Network, "because it enables people around the world to not only focus on the problems in our environment, but to begin solving them."
Earth Day was founded in 1970, when Wisconsin senator Gaylord Nelson called for a nationwide environmental protest in response to pollution, nuclear proliferation, and other threats to the natural world. That year, 20 million demonstrators streamed into parks, auditoriums, and streets, demanding a healthier, sustainable environment.
In recent years, festivities have ranged from laid-back outdoor jamborees to spirited political rallies and have spanned 174 countries including nearly 20,000 events in the U.S. alone, many suitable for young children. And beyond April 22? There are small ways to help the planet every day, from using energy-efficient light bulbs in your home to sending in the family car for a tune-up (it could improve fuel efficiency by as much as 50%). "Everyone has the power to make changes in our world," says Buckland. "That's something we shouldn't forget."
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