Celebrate Earth Day Friday, April 22

Earth Day, a day meant to bring attention to and recognize the importance of the environment, is this Friday, April 22.

An estimated 20 million Americans participated in the first Earth Day in 1970, according to the U.S. Environmental Agency's Web site. It is now celebrated worldwide. Locally, King County is celebrating the day at Westlake Center in Seattle this Friday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with displays regarding its programs for recycling, energy and water conservation, and gardening.

The concept of Earth Day on its 35th anniversary should not just be about commemoration, but re-dedication.

Nearly every one of our acts every day has some effect on the air, water and soil around us. We all know the drill: reduce, reuse and recycle. But it has to be more than collecting bottles and papers. Drive less, support environmentally friendly companies by buying their products, water lawns less frequently -- even better, plant native and drought-resistant plants -- and use fewer chemicals.

Mercer Island has a history of environmental awareness and protection.

Students in a Mercer Island High School club called the Committee to Save the Earth started the Mercer Island Recycling Center in 1975. Money raised from the sale of recycled materials collected at the center still helps pay for school programs and is one reason why many residents still recycle there rather than use curb-side service.

The recycling center has also had a biodiesel fuel pump for two years for people wanting to run the vegetable oil-based fuel in their diesel cars. Biodiesel produces significantly less carbon dioxide than diesel fuel.

Make an Earth Day resolution to celebrate and actively respect the environment every day.

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