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The Earth Day Way, Every Day

Since the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, people around the world have been encouraged to protect the environment and conserve energy resources. Gaylord Nelson, who was a U.S. senator from Wisconsin, founded this holiday. In its first year, 20 million people nationwide participated in Earth Day events.

Earth Day includes kids, too. From cleaning up local parks to testing water, kids can help the earth. Earth Day activities can also include learning about technology like cars that are more environmentally friendly and special houses that save energy and water.

Clean Energy

The Earth Day Network is an organization that helps protect the earth year round. This network encourages people to use clean sources of energy that do not pollute the environment. Some of those sources include sun, wind, and hydrogen power.

Most of our energy comes from fossil fuels that are found underground. Coal, oil, and natural gas are examples of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels come from plants and animals that lived millions of years ago.

Burning fossil fuels to create energy pollutes the air and water. Many scientists think that burning fossil fuels also contributes to the overheating of the earth.

To reduce the use of fossil fuels, scientists are experimenting with hydrogen-powered cars. These cars do not pollute the air, as today's gasoline-powered cars do.

Some scientists predict that by 2025, fossil fuels will run out. The gasoline that people use to drive their cars is a fossil fuel. When people can no longer use gasoline, they may use fuel cells instead. Fuel cells use hydrogen to create energy. People do not have to worry about hydrogen running out, because it is renewable, or replaceable.

In Washington, D.C., a very small number of people drive cars that run on fuel cells. When these cars need more energy to run, drivers can go to a hydrogen pump for more power. The first hydrogen pump for the public opened in the nation's capital in November 2004, marking an important step toward a cleaner environment.

Fuel cells have been expensive to make, so they are not yet widely available. However, researchers are finding less expensive ways of making this safer form of energy.

Come Aboard an Earthship

Another invention that people may learn about on Earth Day is the Earthship. An Earthship is actually not a ship at all. It is a house built to save energy and water. Earthships use solar power for heat and electricity. Solar power is energy that comes from the sun.

Earthships are made from recycled material. Old tires, aluminum soda cans, and glass bottles are some common materials used to build these houses.

Many people who live in Earthships also recycle their water. When it rains, they collect and filter the rainwater. The filter makes the water safe to use for drinking, washing, and cooking. People then save the leftover water for other uses, such as watering indoor plants.

Remember Earth Day

Remember Earth Day on April 22 every year. Earth Day reminds people that each day everyone makes choices. These choices include whether to recycle and what kinds of energy to use. What people decide every day affects life at home, in the community, and throughout the world.

Michaela Piersanti, a child from New Haven, Connecticut, thinks the environment needs to be protected not only on Earth Day, but all year long. “We need to keep the earth clean,” she said. “If we pollute, people and animals can get sick.”