Low-Key Earth Day on Tap Wednesday
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Americans preparing for Wednesday’s celebration of Earth Day are emphasizing local events with little of the national fanfare of two years ago.
″Earth Day is now seen as an annual day ... on which we take stock of the progress we’ve made in the last 365 days,″ Bruce Anderson, president of Earth Day USA, said Tuesday.
His group, based in Peterborough, N.H., has a fulltime staff of 12 people and works year around to keep Earth Day - marked each April 22 - alive.
Anderson sported a button declaring ″Make Earth Day Every Day″ as he met three reporters in an otherwise empty room in a congressional office building - a sharp contrast to the media attention in 1990 when Earth Day attracted large crowds, celebrities and a day of entertainment on the National Mall.
Although officials marked the day last year, it was little noticed in the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War.
Anderson likened the activities two years ago, which marked the 20th anniversary of the original Earth Day, to a ″firecracker″ and a ″wakeup call″ that were not meant to be repeated every year. Now the annual activities are geared simply ″to getting the job done″ to improve the environment, he said.
He said he knew of only one outdoor event planned in the nation’s capital for Wednesday - a demonstration of solar cars and technology on the Mall.
The Environmental Protection Agency said it was marking the day by opening a new public information room where citizens can obtain environmental information.
Anderson said Earth Day will be celebrated one way or another in thousands of communities.
″We see a lot of action taking place,″ he said, adding that he was not disappointed by the little attention his Washington visit seemed to have received compared to the 1990 celebration, which predated his organization.
In Madison Wis., State Rep. Spencer Black called the turn toward local activities a plus because it marked a shifting back to the festivities’ roots in 1970 as a movement of students and local environmental activists.
Organizers in Madison planned a ″clean transportation″ rally where people would ride bicycles instead of cars.
In Dayton, Ohio, members of the United Theological Seminary were to mark the day by holding a service to bless people’s pets. Molly Longstreth, who helped organize the service, said the ceremony follows a century-old tradition of showing gratitude to animals.
In Albany, N.Y., the city’s third annual Earth Day Festival is being forced to a more out-of-the-way location because of past complaints about noise. The festivities will include musical acts, speakers and information booths, but not the rock bands that caused the noise complaints.
Peter Rappa, an organizer of the 1990 celebration, said plans calls for the next major event to be held in 1995.
″I think environmentalism is at an all-time high, but it would wear everybody out trying to do it every year,″ he said.