We urge CSRA residents to participate in one or more of the Earth Day activities under way around the region today. Among the most fun and educational are the Swamp Stomp at Phinizy Swamp Nature Park on Lock and Dam Road, and Kids Earth Day 2004 until 2 p.m. at Lions Memorial Field in North Augusta.
Participants will learn about some healthy environmental changes that have taken place regionally and around the nation since the first Earth Day 34 years ago. They'll also learn of work that still needs to be done.
Because of the emphasis on what still needs to be done, progress in what the nation has done to improve the environment sometimes gets short shrift. For instance, the Environmental Protection Agency reports that air pollution has declined 25 percent since 1970 even though population and energy use have grown by more than 40 percent. Water quality also is greatly improved.
So don't get discouraged by the gloom-and-doom talk you often hear from environmental zealots. The nation is a cleaner place and it's getting better all the time.
However, we do have some advice for local environmentalists. Wake up to the fact that Augusta's No. 1 eco-problem isn't dirty water. polluted air or unclean parks. It's litter. Nearly everywhere you look on the Garden City's roadways and pathways it looks like the Litter City. Isn't it time for environmental volunteers to organize a year-round cleanup campaign?