Earth Day has a direct Colorado connection. Current Denver resident John McConnell designed the Earth Flag in 1968 after seeing the first photo of Earth in Life Magazine. Each year, the United Nations uses this Earth Flag as part of its Earth Day Ceremony. In September 1969, McConnell proposed Earth Day to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and won strong approval for an Earth Day Proclamation (issued March 21, 1970 on the March equinox). The idea spread worldwide.
Also in 1970, Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, proposed the first nationwide environmental protest to “shake up the political establishment.” Now 40 years after McConnell’s and Nelson’s efforts, hundreds of millions of people worldwide participate in Earth Day events, using the day as a springboard for environmental actions.
Unofficial Earth Day Flag by John McConnell
Below are ideas MGA staff members have to reduce impacts on the environment.
• On warmer days, stop at the click when filling your vehicle’s gas tank. Even the slightest gas spill adds to air pollution.
• For short errands near home or work, choose not to drive by either walking or riding a bike. Check out Denver’s new bike sharing program to see how it might work for you.
• Make it a goal to take the bus to work at least one day a week. Earth Day is a good day to start making this a habit.
• When planning any home improvement projects, consider using products developed from beetle kill areas as a way of recycling a precious Colorado resource.
• Before you throw something away, consider whether or not you can recycle it. Chances are you can. Here’s a list of accepted items from Denver Recycles.
• Don’t wash your car in your driveway – all of the soap, dirt and grime from your car go straight down the drain in the street, and most storm drains lead directly to waterways.
• Similarly, don’t throw grass clippings or lawn debris in the street, as it gets swept directly into waterways, which can cause problems for aquatic life.
• Use compact fluorescent lights wherever possible, especially in fixtures that are on for extended periods of time such as outdoor lights and lights on a timer.
• Did you know you can sign up for recycling in Denver?
• If your community doesn’t provide residential curbside recycling collection, contact city officials to ask them to consider it or work with commercial trash haulers / recycling companies.
• Get your emissions checked so your vehicle is not one of those with a smoking tailpipe driving around town.
• If you can, upgrade to high-efficiency windows, doors, or appliances – take advantage of tax credits, and see if you can donate or recycle your old items rather than throwing them out.
Below are links to more tips about what you can do to help Mother Earth.
Earth Day Network
Earth Trustee Registry (an organization established by John McConnell)
EPA Earth Day Tips
Denver Post’s 52 ways to go green at home