Happy 50th Earth Day Posted by John Axtell Date: April 22, 2020 4 Views Earth Day, April 22, 2020 1970 – 2020 50th Anniversary “You Have the Power to Change the World” Mike Kesselring Every April 22 nd marks the anniversary of the first Earth Day in 1970. Politics aside, it could be argued that annual Earth Day events have increased environmental awareness like few other single day events. Rural areas such as ours have a long tradition of land stewardship but even there, some of the practices of 50 years ago have changed for the better. Taking steps to decrease ground water contamination, improved farming practice studies, garbage disposal both in town and in the country and updated grazing practices have netted observable results . Having said that, there are a couple of changes that we can make, even today, that can occur on both an individual and community bases: Plastic drinking bottles are something that caught on a few years ago that seemed animprobable offering when they first appeared. Whether you continue purchasing water in these plastic containers or use the newer thermal cups is not so much the issue as what you do with these empty bottles. The pollution being created by current methods of discarding plastics is well documented and an increasing problem. When possible, the new style, reusable thermal cups and lids are a great alternative to non-reusable plastic bottles. Fix your leaky faucet or toilet! The amount of water that is lost per day, per month and per year through either of these is staggering when you take the time to add it up. Both are usually an easy fix and will prevent the loss of valuable potable water. Yard sales are an example of free enterprise at its finest and another method of conservation that is not always seen in that light. Rather than going straight to the trash with unwanted items of all varieties, yard sales invite others to reuse items that have retained value or remain functionable even though you no longer need them. Energy efficient light bulbs have really advanced in the last few years. Check into it. And finally, the value of tree or windbreak planting has long been known. In Nebraska, we actually have a day set aside in our spring calendar to draw attention to this practice. Your local nursery or NRD office is a great resource in this practice. In looking back, 50 years of Earth Day public education campaigns and clean-up activities have had a positive impact on community awareness of the need to protect where we live. It is also fair to say that even the casual observer would notice that there has been an increase in conservation practices and dialogue since 1970. Regardless of your convictions about the politics that can sometimes cloud longtime movements, the 50th anniversary review of Earth Day is, generally, good.