Each of us can make a difference for Earth Day

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Environmentalism, like every other major issue, is a source of political conflict, but it's one area where all of us should be able to agree on some basic points.

We all call earth our home, and we need to take good care of it.

That idea took a while to catch on.

President Obama recalled the time, 41 years ago, when the Cuyahoga River, choked with debris and covered with oil caught fire at Cleveland.

The event was immortalized in Randy Newman's song, "Burn On."

"Cleveland city of light city of magic

"Cleveland city of light you're calling me

"Cleveland, even now I can remember

"'Cause the Cuyahoga River

"Goes smokin' through my dreams"

Now, a burning river will get the attention of even the most hardened industrialist.

The event helped spur the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970.

It takes a lot of time, organization and money to make major changes in things like national energy policy. However, there are things we as individuals can do that, combined with millions of other individuals, can make a real difference.

Members of the McCook High School Student Council has the right idea. They've been collecting plastic bottles after ball games and paper from the schools, and delivering them to the City of McCook recycling center.

We hope by now you've made a habit of recycling; sorting your plastics, magazines, newspapers, glass and tin. You might even be able to buy a capuccino with the money from selling your aluminum cans to the scrap metal dealers who set up shop in local parking lots.

The Nebraska Department of Roads can help your organization get into the act by taking part in the 20th annual Great Nebraska Trash-Off, April 17-24.

Contact your local Department of Roads maintenance office (the McCook office is (308) 345-8495) and you'll be given more information, including a safety video, orange trash bags, signs and safety vests.

Other groups, such as golf courses and lake associations, are planning cleanup days as well.

We've got a long way to go to restore the damage we've done to the earth, but if each of us will do what we can, we'll make a good start.

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