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Earth Day reminds nation to 'go green' everyday

Critics say celebration encourages political agenda

Posted: April 21, 2008 1:08 a.m.
Updated: June 22, 2008 5:03 a.m.
Tuesday will mark the international celebration of Earth Day, which gives local residents the chance to promote environmental awareness and maintain a green lifestyle.

Dianne Erskine-Hellrigel, leader of the Community Hiking Club, sees educational opportunities for not only youngsters, but entire families.

While playing in the dirt may be enough fun for kids, Erskine-Hellrigel said planting trees allows youngsters to see a plant grow.

"They can come to a garden for years and years and years," she said.

"There's a definite sense of accomplishment."

In terms of observing Earth Day, Erskine-Hellrigel said that while participating in any type of environmental event is ultimately beneficial to the earth, she said that there is often more energy when a group of people work together.

"There's more excitement because it builds on every person there," she said. However, with the ongoing international discussion of global warming, some citizens, like Canyon Country resident Al Sonja Schmidt, are concerned that Earth Day has too much of a political agenda attached to it.

"When I think of Earth Day, I think of picking up trash, having fun," said Schmidt, a television writer and producer and author of "Deb and Seby's Real Deal on Global Warming."

"I think with this whole global warming agenda, which isn't new, it's really kicked up the political aspect of it a lot."

Schmidt said she does not have a problem with Earth Day, but rather the beliefs set forth by the modern environmentalist movement that make many feel guilty about the human presence on earth.

She views Earth Day as a celebration of the earth, but also man's existence in relation to the planet.

Erskine-Hellrigel, who is organizing the planting of a native garden at East Canyon Picnic Site, doesn't equate Earth Day with any political agenda.

She believes that the people who hold a political agenda with Earth Day will always have their agenda, regardless of the holiday.

Instead, she believes Earth Day is a time to solely give back to the planet.

"It is a time when we can give back to the community, give back to mother Earth, create something that is sustainable and feel good about our accomplishments," she said.


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