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Our View: Hearing crickets? Must be Earth Day

The first Earth Day, 44 years ago today, was front-page news in Duluth. An estimated 175 college students gathered at Leif Erikson Park at 4:45 a.m. that day. With songs and readings, they reflected on the relationship between humankind and the environment. Then they and others attended 14 speeches, panel discussions and other events scheduled over two days.

The holiday was celebrated in style here after first being proposed by U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. Nelson’s aim was to promote an awareness of ecological threats like pollution as well as population and environmental issues like wildlife preservation and mining conservation.

Fast forward to 2014, and Earth Day doesn’t receive nearly the attention it once did. An Earth Day “celebration” was held over the weekend at the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center with a promise of free family fun. A beach cleanup is planned beginning at Bayfront Festival Park at 10 a.m. today. The Little Neetchers store in West Duluth will help customers go green Saturday with Earth Day classes on cloth diapering, composting and more. And, also on Saturday, the annual Duluth Gallery Hop is planned; somehow it ties in to Earth Day (go to for details).

And then that’s it. That’s all that could be found listed by all the usual community-happenings sources. Can hardly blame the media for not covering something in which we’ve apparently lost interest. And that seems mighty strange considering all the bluster over climate change, precious-metals mining, pipelines and more.

While the day has lost some luster, its reminder of how important it is to be good to the environment and to the Earth certainly has not. Every one of us, according to, can do that by planting a tree, recycling, cutting back on driving, reducing energy use, using reusable bags, buying locally, cleaning up outside, exploring nature and participating in anything eco-friendly. Other simple ways to honor the day and be good to the Earth include participating in stream cleanups, taking public transit, buying more efficient light bulbs, installing programmable thermostats and unplugging unused electronic appliances that needlessly consume energy every day, according to an editorial in the Kansas City Star.

And we can remember that today is Earth Day — even if we don’t gather at 4:45 a.m. to do so.