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A Day to Celebrate Our Home

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We have all heard of Earth Day. On this day, people celebrate by using less energy, taking shorter showers, going outside to enjoy nature and using alternative transportation.  While many have a general idea of what it means to celebrate our Earth, few know the roots of this important day.

Earth day is an annual event falling on the 22nd of April. It is now celebrated across the world in 193 different countries, but it started in San Francisco in 1969. John McConnell, a peace activist, wanted to dedicate the first day of spring towards honoring our Earth. The proposal was signed by the Secretary General at the United Nations, and a month later Earth Day was founded by Gaylord Nelson. Earth Day is now a worldwide recognized event, celebrated by billions.

“Earth Day is great for raising awareness and reminding people to be environmentally conscious. In my opinion, however, every day should be Earth Day,” said Ella Horn, a senior at Aspen High School.

This year there are hundreds of large organized events in cities around the world, as well as smaller celebrations. In New York City, 30 blocks on Broadway will be closed off to cars. In the UK there is a full month of events including reforestation projects, lectures, fairs and festivals, and dances. Hundreds of thousands of litter clean-ups have been organized, as well as car-less roads and alternative transportation competitions.  If you personally can not attend any organized events, there are plenty of things you can do at home to reduce your carbon footprint.

“To start small, you can recycle and you can reuse your plastic bags,” said Madison Osberger-Low, a member of AHS’s Earth Group.

For children, there are many fun activities to raise awareness about the importance of a healthy Earth. Arts and crafts with recycled paper and materials will entertain the youth for hours, as will DIY recycled material pots and plant holders. For adults, it is about being conscious of our consumption of materials, and making a valid effort to cut back on unneeded resources. Ride a bike to work, buy a recyclable water bottle, plant a tree, donate to a reforestation project, build a birdhouse, work to make your home more energy efficient; there is an incredible amount of small tasks to help in the large effort towards a cleaner Earth.

“Simple things will make a larger difference, and the more people that are taking part in that can actually make a tremendous difference,” said Travis Moore, a teacher at AHS and the mentor for AHS’s Earth Group.  “It’s a very sad state when people don’t recognize their part of the larger world and their effects on other people, other things, other places… and the beauty of nature and being outside. A lot of people are just so busy we lose sight of that.”

In order to stay connected to the natural world, we must make an effort towards becoming more environmentally conscious. Earth Day is a great place to start.

In Aspen alone there are several events you can attend. On the Wednesday, April 19 ACES is hosting a big celebration from 5 to 7 p.m. at Hallam Lake. There is also a March for Climate organized for April 29. There will be a national and potentially global march that the AHS Earth Group is working to coordinate in Aspen as well.

For more information visit www.aspenchamber.org/events.

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