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Earth Day about conservation

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The Rocky Mountains, as seen from Colorado Springs. Servicemembers and civilians are urged to increase their awareness of environmental issues for Earth Day, April 22. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Steve Czyz)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The Rocky Mountains, as seen from Colorado Springs. Servicemembers and civilians are urged to increase their awareness of environmental issues for Earth Day, April 22. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Steve Czyz)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. ---- One of many flowers on Buckley Air Force Base. April 22 is Earth Day, promoting conservation and the protection of the environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Paul Labbe)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. ---- One of many flowers on Buckley Air Force Base. April 22 is Earth Day, promoting conservation and the protection of the environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Paul Labbe)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- One of many trees at Garden of the Gods near Colorado Springs. Colorado has a wide variety of plant and animal life for servicemembers stationed at Front Range military bases to see. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Steve Czyz)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- One of many trees at Garden of the Gods near Colorado Springs. Colorado has a wide variety of plant and animal life for servicemembers stationed at Front Range military bases to see. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Steve Czyz)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- As Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, the servicemembers of Team Buckley work each day to protect this country and improve the lives of people worldwide. On April 22, Earth Day, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency asks servicemembers to join civilians in extending that care to the environment.

"This Earth Day, EPA is reaching out to people of every age, race, and economic status to 'own' the environment, to commit to environmental protection as one of your top priorities," reads the EPA Web site. "Why is this important? Because many people don't see 'environmentalism' as an important issue in their lives, when actually, having clean air to breathe, water to drink and a neighborhood safe from toxics is important to all of us!"

The story of Earth Day began in 1969, when Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin pitched his idea for a nation-wide day promoting environmental education to conservation groups and unions. The idea, supported by grassroots groups as well as members of Congress from both major political parties, took off like wildfire, with approximately 20 million Americans participating in the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970.

"Earth Day worked because of the spontaneous response at the grassroots level," wrote Senator Nelson in 1993. "We had neither the time nor resources to organize 20 million demonstrators and the thousands of schools and local communities that participated. That was the remarkable thing about Earth Day. It organized itself."

Forty years later, Earth Day remains primarily a community-organized event, though the EPA, founded the same year as the first Earth Day, provides educational materials to groups and individuals working toward conservation.

One example is the EPA's Pick 5 For the Environment campaign, which encourages Americans to pick five actions to commit to in order to protect the environment. Broad areas, including water, air, land, energy, waste and advocacy, are broken down into specific, manageable actions for individuals.

Learn more about Earth Day at http://www.epa.gov/earthday, or check out the Pick 5 for the Environment campaign at http://www.epa.gov/pick5.
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