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The GASP Guide to Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day

Today we’re celebrating an important milestone: The 50th Anniversary of Earth Day here in the United States! For those who might not be familiar, the holiday was the brainchild of Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, a staunch environmentalist who hoped to provide unity to the grassroots environmental movement while also increasing awareness of ecological issues.

To honor the occasion, your friends at GASP put together 10 ways to celebrate the holiday today:

  1. Take a hike and enjoy some sunshine, blue skies, and budding plants. While you’re out, see if you can spot lichen, which can tell you a little bit about your local air quality. Never heard of it? No worries, our Education and Events Coordinator Chelsea put together this video to give you the skinny.
  2. Grab some popcorn and tune into a recording of Pittsburgh’s Earth Week Teach-in. Originally broadcast this past Sunday, the program includes several hours of education, interviews, and more. Peruse the more than 200 videos on YouTube.
  3. Sign our petition imploring the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) to apply for an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant for more benzene monitoring. By way of background: ACHD air quality monitor data show concentration of benzene, a cancer-causing air toxic, is above the acceptable risk levels for ambient air. You can learn more about the dangers of benzene and sign our petition here. 
  4. Learn more about memorable Earth Day milestones in this story by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Don Hopey.
  5. Break out the crayons and take a color break! Our friends at PennEnvironment have nature-themed, printable coloring pages on their website. 
  6. Try one of these fun, air quality-related activities with the kiddos that our education guru put together. Bonus: You probably already have all the items you need right at home.
  7. Take part in a virtual Earth Day celebration hosted by the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy (it goes through 6 p.m. today).
  8. Show a little love to Mother Nature by taking a walk around your neighborhood and picking up litter (with gloves and a mask if you’ll be around people, of course).
  9. Check out the myriad activities on the Pittsburgh Earth Day website. There’s a plant-based recipe contest, a recycled design contest, and much, much more.
  10. Become a clean air advocate by joining GASP! Here’s how.
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