Today is the 45th annual Earth Day. The first one was April 22nd, 1970 at a time when cities were buried under their own smog and polluted rivers caught fire.

In 1963, Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson began to worry about our planet – the water and air was being polluted. Plants and animals were dying and he wondered why more people weren't trying to solve these problems. It was talked about in Congress. The president made speeches, but not enough people were working on solutions.

Then, Senator Nelson had another idea - a special day to teach everyone about the things that needed to be changed to protect the environment.

It started as a day of just recognizing the importance of the environment, but now Earth Day is celebrated world-wide.

It led to the ban of the cancer-causing pesticide DDT. As a direct result of that, the bald eagle was removed from the endangered species list.

Then came the phase out of leaded gasoline and fuel economy standards.

The EPA began phasing-out the production and use of cancer-causing PCB’s.

One event that really opened people’s eyes to the importance of protecting the environment happened right here in our backyard – the leeching through the soil of the Love Canal neighborhood in Niagara Falls led to the creation in 1980 of the Superfund to clean up hazardous waste sites. It made polluters responsible for cleaning up their mess.

We’ve come a long way since then, but still more work needs to be done.

You can find out more and become a member of the Earth Day Network online at www.earthday.net.