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Earth Day still important 40 years later

Like many celebrations in life, Earth Day is designed to get our attention one day out of the year on hopes that this awareness continues for 364 more.

Locally the event was celebrated Thursday with a variety of activities, educational programs and tree plantings by a host of organizations.

This grassroots effort has come a long, long way since it was founded 40 years ago by Wisconsin Sen. Gaylord Nelson as an educational project.

More than 20 million people participated that first year but I don’t think anyone knew the impact and importance this celebration would one day hold.

Earth Day is now celebrated in more than 175 countries across the globe by more than 500 million people.

Some people make the mistake of thinking this celebration is for environmental activists, liberal politicians or other subculture cliques. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Earth Day is simply designed to make all of us better appreciate Mother Earth, the imprint each of us leaves on the planet and what we can do to lessen that impact.

Even minor changes and an increased awareness can have amazing results when multiplied by the 500 million citizens that now participate to make a difference.

Change starts each April 22 — just as it did four decades ago — but it shouldn’t end there.