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Earth Day

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The Environmental Protection Agency

Every April 22 is Earth Day in the United States. On this day, the focus is the planet itself and how to better take care of it.

Among the things that Earth Day promoters urge people to do on Earth Day are plant trees, travel without cars for a day, and test their drinking water to make sure it's safe.

The story of Earth Day began in the 1960s, when many movements to protect the environment began to be popular. A best-selling book at the time was Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, about the dangers of pesticides (chemicals used to kill bugs and other animals that ate crops and fouled water). Large companies were also routinely dumping their oil and toxic waste in rivers and lakes, killing fish and contaminating water that could be used for drinking.

Many, many people were upset about this and other ways in which other people weren't taking care of the planet, so they got together and spread awareness, telling everyone about how people needed to not poison rivers and lakes and not use chemicals to kill bugs that might also harm people. The driving force behind this movement was Senator Gaylor Nelson.

The movement grew and grew. In 1970, the first Earth Day was celebrated, with thousands and thousands of people gathering all across the country.

Today, Earth Day is celebrated every year on April 22. How can you help celebrate? Ask your teacher or your family or friends. You probably know someone who is celebrating. You can also do things yourself, like recycle paper and plastics and also tell everybody you know to respect the planet and not be so wasteful with trash. You can read about some Planetary Heroes, who have done a great deal to protect Planet Earth. You can also write to Senator Nelson, the founder of Earth Day, and read what other kids have said to him.

One person can make a difference.

Graphics courtesy of ArtToday

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