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The Monday Mark: Happy Earth Day

Earth Day will be observed Monday, April 22. This year's theme is "Protect Our Species." Getty Images / Special to Forum News Service

Mark your calendars for this week's holidays.

Today is Earth Day — an annual event that celebrates the planet's environment and raises public awareness about pollution. This year's theme is "Protect Our Species."

According to the Earth Day Network, today’s world is facing the greatest rate of extinction since the loss of dinosaurs more than 60 million years ago. But the organization says unlike the fate of the dinosaurs, the rapid extinction of species in the world today is the result of human activity, including climate change, deforestation, habitat loss, trafficking and poaching, unsustainable agriculture, pollution, and pesticides.

Studies estimate that species are now being lost at 1,000 to 10,000 times the normal rate. Insect populations have decreased by more than 45% worldwide; 40% of the world’s bird species are in decline; beekeepers report annual hive losses of 30% or higher. Scientists say many species will disappear before we learn about them or the benefits they bring to ecosystems and the planet.

Goals for Earth Day 2019
  • Educate and raise awareness about the accelerating rate of extinction of millions of species and the causes and consequences of this phenomenon.
  • Achieve major policy victories that protect broad groups of species as well as individual species and their habitats.
  • Build and activate a global movement that embraces nature and its values.
  • Encourage individual actions, such as adopting a plant-based diet and stopping pesticide and herbicide use.

The first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970, activated 20 million Americans from all walks of life and is widely credited with launching the modern environmental movement. The Earth Day Network is already making plans for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day next year.

Other holidays this week:

Monday, April 22: Girl Scout Leader's Day

Tuesday, April 23: Talk Like Shakespeare Day

Wednesday, April 24: Administrative Professionals Day

Thursday, April 25: Hug a Plumber Day

Friday, April 26: Help a Horse Day

Saturday, April 27: Prime Rib Day

Sunday, April 28: Blueberry Pie Day

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