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ENVIRONMENT REPORT – April 18, 2003: Earth Day 2003 - 2003-04-17

This is the VOA Special English Environment Report.

On April twenty-second, millions of Americans and people around the world will observe the thirty-third anniversary of Earth Day. Across the United States, people will attend events to show their support for protecting the Earth’s environment.

Earth Day is a yearly call for people to work together to save the planet. The first Earth Day took place in the United States on April twenty-second, nineteen-seventy. Former Senator Gaylord Nelson started Earth Day because he believed few public officials were concerned about the environment. He organized a nationwide effort to educate people about environmental issues. Twenty-million Americans took part.

The first Earth Day helped make the environment an important issue. It led to the passage of important laws in the United States. These included the clean air and clean water acts and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Experts say the environment in the United States is better than it was thirty-three years ago. There are stronger laws and better technologies. However, experts say major threats around the world remain.

For example, air and water pollution are still serious problems in many countries. The human population is putting more pressure on land and water supplies. The destruction of forests threatens some rare kinds of plants and animals. And, scientists say that burning some fuels is causing a dangerous warming of the Earth.This year’s Earth Day message is “Water for Life.” There are many Internet sites you can visit to learn ways to help protect the Earth. For example, the World Wildlife Fund suggests joining the Conservation Action Network. It is a free service that helps people establish new legislation, policies and programs designed to care for the planet.

Conservation Action Network activists already have had many environmental successes. For example, the network helped stop Russians from hunting beluga whales. The group also worked to pass legislation to protect the Galapagos Islands. And, it helped pass a bill that has increased protection of tigers and rhinoceroses.

The World Wildlife Fund also suggests smaller ways you can help the planet every day. The group’s Internet Web address is w-w-w dot worldwildlife dot org. Worldwildlife is all one word.

This VOA Special English Environment Report was written by Caty Weaver and George Grow.