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Illinoisans Urged to Make Every Day Earth Day

April 19, 2012

CHICAGO - As Illinoisans plant trees, clean parks and participate in Earth Day events on Sunday, environmentalists are urging all state residents to care for the Earth every day of the year.

Howard Learner, president of the Environmental Law and Policy Center, says he understands how people intend to make changes and then get sidetracked.

" 'Yeah, I'll get around to replacing that old incandescent light bulb,' or 'Yeah, I ought to change the filters on my furnace' and 'Yeah, I was going to put in a little more insulation.' Get it done!"

Learner says Earth Day gives people an opportunity to reflect on lifestyle changes they might consider, such as how they get around.

"You like to walk, or you have a bike. It's healthy and there's no pollution. A lot of us could stand to lose a couple of pounds, and getting on that bicycle or doing a little more walking is good for us. It's healthier for us."

Learner thinks the nation is headed in the right direction but urges Congress to resist rolling back important regulations on clean air and water.

"Lake Michigan and our beaches and shorelines are cleaner and better. There's less mercury pollution going into the lake. There's less other pollution going into the atmosphere. Do we have a ways to go for clean air and better public health? Absolutely."

Illinois has made progress since that first Earth Day 42 years ago, Learner says. The state is a leader in wind power production, he says, and Lake Michigan is much cleaner. But everyone can continue the progress, he adds, by making small changes such as biking or walking sometimes instead of driving, using more energy-efficient appliances and recycling on a regular basis.

Mary Anne Meyers, Public News Service - IL