April 22 marked the 39th anniversary of Earth Day, a day to raise public awareness about environmental issues.

April 22 marked the 39th anniversary of Earth Day, a day to raise public awareness about environmental issues.
This past week many communities and citizens were having Earth-friendly events and activities to celebrate this 39th anniversary opportunity to “go green.”
There are many ways to go green on Earth Day from promoting events that help protect the environment, including clearing up local streams and the lake areas of trash and brush. There are many “stream teams” in the state that have cleanup days.
Bob Harper of Kansas City recalls the first Earth Day and said, “There wasn’t much said about that first time, but I am happy to say more and more people realize that is an important time to take action to help protect the environment. I know it is a reminder for us to conserve energy and reduce pollution while saving money at the same time. I would like to see more people involved.”
Many cities, counties and states have gotten involved by building new nature trails and providing hiking and bike trails while at the same time preserving wildlife areas.
Harper said he started celebrating Earth Day 39 years ago with a compost bin that turned out to be a better project than he thought it would.
“I built a compost bin as a project to cut down on throwing kitchen waste into the trash,” Harper said. “I got some red wiggler worms, put in some damp strips of newspapers and before long, I had lots of worms. And being a bluegill fisherman, I used some of them to catch fish. After awhile, my mother used some of the soil on her houseplants and they grew larger than ever. We both reaped rewards from my Earth Day project.”
One thing Harper said would be a great Earth Day project is to get more of our youth involved.
“Things today are much different than when I was growing up in rural Missouri. Too many kids don’t take advantage of the great out-of-doors today. They are too busy watching TV or playing computer games.
“Parents don’t have or take the time to enjoy outdoor activities with their children. When I was a kid, our family did a lot of camping and fishing as well as other outdoor activities. It’s a much different world today, and that isn’t necessarily a good thing. I know there are programs in schools and various conservation organizations that are working on programs to help turn around this trend of enjoying the outdoors for kids, and that’s a good thing.”
On that first Earth Day, some 10 million Americans demonstrated for environmental protection and awareness. Since then, the numbers of demonstrators has increased.
Jack Thomas of Harrisonville is a person who celebrated Earth Day every day by recycling, riding his bike to work and picking up litter. This year, he planted a tree.
“It’s easy to get into a pattern to help protect the environment,” he said.
Nearly everyone knows that kids today spend a lot fewer hours in the outdoors than earlier generations and they don’t get enough exercise as their fathers and grandfathers did.
Harper has a younger brother, Jack, who lives near Springfield and does what he can to promote the outdoors.
“When we visit my brother in the country, he tells our kids not to bring any Gameboys or computer games in the house and only turns on the television after dark,” Bob Harper said. “He thinks is a big waste of time for his or his brother’s children not to take advantage of the outdoors by going fishing in his stocked ponds, go hunting or just take a walk and enjoy the wildlife around the farm. At first, the kids didn’t look forward to visiting their uncle, but now they can’t wait to get down there and enjoy the outdoors and all it has to offer.”
Every person can do a little each day to protect the environment and help improve the future from recycling to using water more efficiently.
As Earth Day turned 39 Wednesday, more and more people were ready to work on behalf of environmentally friendly programs and there are enough of them that deserve and need strong support.