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Mother Earth Needs Our Help

In honor of Earth Day 2011, this week's Great Escape is dedicated to giving Mother Earth a much-needed break.

Mother Earth Needs Our Help

We interrupt your regularly scheduled Great Escape to bring you a special announcement.

There is a mother who desperately needs our help. She’s running low on resources and having trouble staying clean. Her name is Mother Earth and she deserves a break. It’s our job to give her one.

Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 each year. The Earth Day Network refers to it as a day for “individuals and organizations worldwide to demonstrate their commitment to environmental protection and sustainability.”

Earth Day isn’t breaking news. It’s been around for over 40 years. The first national Earth Day was in 1970, fathered by Wisconsin Sen. Gaylord Nelson after he witnessed the devastation caused by a 1969 oil spill in California.

Tapping into the flower power and revolutionary energy of the era, Nelson, and those with whom he aligned himself, encouraged a national demonstration. The result was Earth Day 1970—a single day where 20 million Americans rallied from coast-to-coast in support of sustaining the environment.

Earth Day became an international phenomenon in 1990, reaching 200 million people in 141 countries and bringing environmental concerns to the forefront of global discussion. Ten years later, Earth Day hit the Internet. Use of the Web let activists better organize their efforts and more effectively extend the movement throughout the world.

From then to now, in both the physical and virtual worlds, the Earth Day initiative has bridged many gaps between divergent groups of people, allowing them to set aside their differences and pursue the common goal of saving the planet.

To achieve this goal, there are state regulations, national legislature and international summits regarding environmentalism. But, these things only address part of the ongoing problem.

Environmental protection and sustainability requires more than obedience to applicable laws and regulations. It requires personal interest and action.

Personal action is at the heart of Earth Day 2011. This year’s focus is the continuation of the A Billion Acts of Green campaign that began in 2010. The campaign’s objective is to reach a billion pledges of environmental action before the Earth Summit in Rio in 2012.

The A Billion Acts of Green website was set up so that individuals, organizations and nations could register their pledges in a quantifiable way. Right now, 100,504,172 pledges have been registered. That number will probably be higher by the time you are done reading this article.

One way you can guarantee that this number grows is by visiting the website and registering your own pledge. Your pledge doesn’t have to be a huge action on your part. It can be some small change in your life.

You could pledge to carpool to work or walk to the post office rather than drive.

You could pledge to plant a garden in your backyard or teach your children the principles of sustainable resources.

Maybe a pledge to switch to reusable grocery bags or low energy light bulbs is more your thing.

Perhaps you’d like to ditch that bottled water in favor of a water filtration system or use eco-friendly cleaning products.

Or, maybe you’ll decide to donate your old clothes to a charity instead of throwing them away.

There are so many ways you can reduce, recycle and reuse to minimize the carbon footprint you leave behind. It’s just a matter of finding the one that’s right for you.

When you take care of Mother Earth, you are also taking care of yourself, your children and your children’s children. You’re helping to ensure that our water, air and land are clean and useable now and for years to come.

We now return to your regularly scheduled Great Escape, already in progress…

Have a happy Earth Day with your family and friends. Give yourself and the Earth a break from your daily routine. Hit a park. Get outdoors. Explore nature. Waste less and care more.

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