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"The ultimate test of man's conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today
for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard."

- Gaylord Nelson, former governor of Wisconsin, founder of Earth Day  

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- by J. Pillo and E.A. Zimmerman

The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970.  Many positive changes have occurred since then. The Connecticut River, once known as the “best landscaped sewer in the state,” is now considered by The Nature Conservancy to be one of Connecticut’s greatest places.  The passages of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts and mandatory recycling have made a difference, but there is still more to be done.

every day is earth day

Many environmental issues are global in nature, but here are some suggestions for actions that can be taken at the local level.  

  • Pick a stretch of littered roadside near your house and get a group of friends out there with you to clean it up.  Make sure you wear work gloves.  If you have children with you, be sure they are not left unattended near highways or illegal dumps that may have hazardous materials.  Do no open sealed containers that contain suspicious materials.
  • Don’t throw it away!  One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.  Have a yard sale and donate what you don’t sell to a charity.
  • Recycle!  Recycling of many items is required by law. Dispose of electronic materials in an environmentally responsible manner.  Some products, such as computer screens and TV sets, contain as much as 4–8 lbs. of toxic lead.  Rechargeable batteries contain cadmium.  These products do not belong in landfills or incinerators.  Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Best Buy are some companies that sponsor electronic equipment recycling programs.
  • Buy products made of recycled materials.  For example, buy decking materials made from recycled milk jugs, and as a bonus you won’t have to worry about chromated copper arsenate which is found in 90% of pressure-treated wood.   
  • Test your soil before adding fertilizer.  Commercial fertilizers are water soluble and any excess will just run off your yard and into streams with the spring rains.  The best time to fertilize your lawn is in the fall.

For more simple ideas you can do to help improve the environment on Earth Day or any day, visit the Woodstock Conservation Commission website at www.woodstockconservation.org.

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Originally published in Our Town in 2004.

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Last updated October 25, 2016

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