Celebrating Mother Earth and protecting the environment is the theme as today marks Earth Day’s 49th anniversary.
Across the country and throughout North America and more than 190 other countries, Earth Day represents a time to honor the planet and all living things that inhabit it.
Locally, the impact can be seen when volunteers from the ranks of Harnett County employees take to the roadsides with bags, gloves and a desire to leave the county just a little better than when they started.
There will also be volunteers from civic and church groups, as well as concerned individuals, at key points collecting trash and other debris.
From 2:30-4 p.m. volunteers will clean up along Three Bridge Road near Dunn, along N.C. 210 from James Norris Road to Angier, McKinney Parkway in Lillington and along McNeil Hobbs Road/Sandifer Road near the Bunnlevel community.
Local efforts are a part of Litter Sweep, the N.C. Department of Transportation’s biannual roadside litter removal initiative.
In addition to cleaning up areas, beautification of other locations has been a theme. For example, the Just-A-Mere Garden Club of Sampson County annually plants a tree at a local school in the days leading up to Earth Day. This year, club members visited Midway Elementary and planted a species of cherry tree, according to member Betsy Williams.
This year’s Earth Day will also be a day of making the world aware of the plight of not only wild animals, but also vital insects, such as bees, which provide pollination for plants; marine animals such as turtles which have been hit hard due to climate change.
According to EarthDay.org, the goals for this year’s observance are:
Encourage individual actions such as adopting a plant-based diet and stopping pesticide and herbicide use.