OK, everybody sing along: Happy Earth Day to you, happy Earth Day to you, happy Earth Day dear planet, happy Earth Day to-o-o-o yoo-oo-oo--ou.
Earth Day was 21 years old on Monday, April 22. That means it's legally an adult.
But does that mean it has to take care of itself from now on? A lot of people seem to think so. Certainly, large portions of the media are sitting this one out.
But you don't have to. In fact, Earth Day 1991 is a chance to prove to yourself that media hype and Time magazine covers aren't the reason you got involved with the environmental movement in the first place.
Many local groups around the country are celebrating throughout the week. Join them if you can. But if you want to throw a proper 21st Earth Day bash of your own, here are a few simple things you can do:
* Join the party. Register to vote. If you're looking for a way to make a difference, the voting booth is the place to start. Electing candidates who believe in protecting the environment is critically important. If you're not registered to vote, or if you've recently moved and haven't re-registered, this should be a priority.
* Phone in an Earth Day greeting. Large companies have 800 numbers listed on their products, and they encourage consumers to call with comments. So tell them what you think about overpackaging, needless disposables or other environmental practices.
* Buy it a present (and a future, as well). When you go shopping, keep your eyes on the "green." Make a special effort to buy recycled products, non-toxic cleaners and organic produce (it may cost a little more, but remember, it's a special occasion).
* Send it a card. Have you put off writing to your representatives in Congress about the environment? Send each of them an "Earth Day" card (on recycled paper, of course) wishing them a pleasant re-election campaign from another committed environmentalist. Remind them you're planning to vote.
* Wish it many happy returns. If you haven't started recycling yet, this is the perfect week to begin. If you're already recycling . . . well, recycle more.
* Buy it a drink. Of course, since Earth Day is now 21, it's OK to buy it a drink. Make an extra effort to conserve water this week. There are plenty of ways: Stop at a local hardware store and buy a low-flow shower head. Fix that dripping faucet. Or just check to see if your toilet is leaking. Here's how: Put a few drops of food coloring into the tank; then make sure no one uses the toilet for about half an hour. If the color appears in the toilet bowl, there's a leak. Get it fixed!
* And for the icing on the cake: Help clean up after the party. You represent the future of the environmental movement in America. So stick around. We need you.