Plant a tree this spring

Fifty years ago, 20 million people across America gathered to celebrate the first Earth Day. The environment was in a state of crisis.

Cities were buried in smog, and polluted rivers were catching fire.

We’ve come a long way since then.

More and more of us are turning down the thermostat in the winter and turning it up in the summer.

We turn off lights when we leave a room, and we make a habit of recycling, reducing the amount of trash our communities send to landfills.

People are taking notice of the need to protect our planet for future generations, and they’re rolling up their sleeves to take action.

We can, of course, do more. So grab your work boots, gloves, rake, shovel, hoe and broom and clean up your landscaping today, Earth Day 2020.

In past years, the Wildcat Guardians, environmentally minded people dedicated to improving the health and beauty of Wildcat Creek, have led volunteers in removing litter and debris along the creek, its adjacent parks and nearby trails, and laying mulch near such areas.

Social distancing in the time of COVID-19 has put off such group projects.

But there’s one thing we all can do for the environment: plant a tree this spring.

The National Arbor Day Foundation notes trees are like the lungs of the planet. They breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen.

Additionally, they provide habitat for birds and other wildlife, and they reduce erosion.

Trees also absorb sound and reduce noise pollution, and they can keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

We can also turn down our thermostats in the winter and turn them up in the summer. Experts say a difference of just 1 degree can reduce energy costs by about 4 percent.

We can repair leaky faucets. One drip per second can waste as much as 10 gallons of water in a week.

We can cut water use at least in half by installing low-flow faucets and low-flow toilets.

Let’s all rededicate ourselves to the welfare of the planet.