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St. Louis to celebrate 40th anniversary of Earth Day

(Wikimedia Commons)

By Veronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis, MO – Thursday is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. St. Louis will commemorate the event on Sunday with a festival in Forest Park.

Karla Wilson organized Earth Day events in St. Louis from 1999 to 2005. She says people come to the festival to learn about environmental technologies and organizations, to find out how to get involved, and to talk with elected officials: "We have politicians who are asking to be on stage at the Earth Day festival, and it wasn't always that way, so that's a good thing."

Mayor Francis Slay is scheduled to kick off this year's St. Louis Earth Day celebration.

More than 275 artists, educational exhibitors, food vendors, and businesses are expected to draw about 25,000 visitors.

One local environmental leader isn't happy with what Earth Day has become.

Don Fitz is the co-coordinator of the St. Louis Green Party and has worked on local environmental issues for the past 20 years. "Years ago when we first got involved in the environmental movement, people used to talk about reduce, reuse, recycle."

Fitz says corporations have shifted the focus of the environmental movement - and Earth Day - from reducing production and waste, to promoting even more consumption.

In 1970, grassroots Earth Day protests led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species acts.