Healthy Beginnings

Earth Day – You Can Make a Difference!


April 22, 1970 marked the first official “Earth Day.” It was a time of leaded gas, environmental unawareness and air pollution. But a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, Gaylord Nelson, inspired by a student anti-war movement and the tragic results of a 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, partnered with Congressman Pete McCloskey and Denis Hayes from Harvard to create a day of awareness. By the end of 1970, the first Earth Day had led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts.

Forty years later, in 2010, Earth Day saw a Climate Rally of 250,000 people at the National Mall, the launching of A Billion Acts of Green®, the world’s largest environmental service project, and 22,000 partners in 192 countries observing the Earth Day movement.

Soon to reach its 50th Anniversary, in 2020, the Earth Day Network continues to grow and impact the world we (and our future generations will) live in. Please see our Calendar on page 30 for local Earth Day celebrations. If you can’t participate in any locally-organized events, don’t worry! You can participate on your own, that day and every day thereafter. Here are 10 ideas to help you get started.

  1. Plant a tree – You can apply for free seedlings at or join the Arbor Day Foundation and receive 10 free trees to plant:
  2. Start recycling – Every little bit helps!
  3. Buy locally-sourced food – Locally-grown food is usually kinder to the environment.
  4. Carpool – Save money and maybe even find like-minded friends.
  5. Create a garden – even if it’s a small windowbox herb garden, you and your family will enjoy watching the progress of something you have created, and you reap the rewards of delicious home-grown flavors.
  6. Stop buying bottled water – use a refillable permanent water bottle. You’ll save money and our landfills.
  7. Clean up your community – grab some friends and make a difference. Last fall, a few work friends and I went out one Saturday morning and, in just a few hours, collected over 550 pounds of garbage from a stretch of the Carson River.
  8. Go paperless – Change your billing to paperless, whenever possible. You’ll save pounds of paper every year and maybe even avoid a few paper cuts.
  9. Set a family challenge – Who can recycle the most? Produce the least garbage in one week? Can you reduce your electric bill by having kids run around the house and turn off unused lights and televisions regularly? Set achievable goals with rewards at the end to raise your whole family’s awareness.
  10. Make birdhouses with your kids – Find step-by-step instructions

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