Have You Thanked Your Planet Lately?

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It's Earth Day, and a stroll around Washington, D.C., reveals an "inconvenient truth": Not everyone knows it's Earth Day.


This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Debbie Elliott.

You know the old joke about how many people it takes to change a light bulb? But do you know how many seconds it takes? Eighteen, according to a Web site promoting energy-saving bulbs. The motto of 18Seconds.org is: Change a bulb, change everything.

But despite the slew of events around the nation urging people to take better care of the planet, some Americans don't even know this is Earth Day, as one of our reporters found out on a stroll around the nation's capital.

ALLISON KEYS: There's a guy at a bus stop with his leg up on a fire plug and he's writing something.

What's your name, if you don't mind me asking?

Mr. BRYANT COTTON(ph) (Resident, Washington, D.C.): My name is Bryant Cotton(ph).

KEYS: My name is Allison Keys. I'm from National Public Radio, and I'm asking people today if they knew that today is Earth Day. Do you know?

Mr. COTTON: No, I do not.

KEYS: Do you feel bad that you didn't know?


(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. COTTON: I don't follow the news very much. I did see, like, an information-type thing on TV where stars were saying what they were doing, and there's so many ways that we can do small things to save the Earth. So - but it never registered.

KEYS: Here's a lady with a dog in her purse. And we've got to ask her a question. Hi.

Mr. OLIVIA MAR(ph) (Resident, Washington, D.C.): Hi.

KEYS: What's your name?

Ms. MAR: Olivia Mar.

KEYS: And what's your dog's name?

Ms. MAR: Princess.

KEYS: Did you know today was Earth Day?

Ms. MAR: No, I didn't.

KEYS: Is the environment something that you're into or paying attention to?

Ms. MAR: Somewhat, not really. I mean, I'm concerned about global warming. I recycle.

HASSAN(ph) (Resident, Washington, D.C.): My name is Hassan. And no, I did not know it was Earth Day.

KEYS: Do you know what Earth Day is?

HASSAN: I guess it's a celebration of the Earth and taking care of the Earth. But I don't think it should be called Earth Day.

KEYS: What do you think it should be called?

HASSAN: Human responsibility day.

KEYS: Do you do anything special? Are you recycling? Are you changing your light bulb?

HASSAN: No, I don't do any of those things.

KEYS: Didn't you just say it was human responsibility day?

HASSAN: Yeah, but - I mean, I mean you put it on the consumer, I mean…

(Soundbite of laughter)

KEYS: Allison Keys, NPR News, Washington.

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