Students prepare for Earth Day's 25th

March 23, 1995|By Suzanne Loudermilk | Suzanne Loudermilk,Sun Staff Writer

When the first Earth Day was held 25 years ago, these college students weren't even born. Yesterday, they participated in a Towson rally to kick off next month's silver anniversary of environmental efforts.

"Everybody has a responsibility for the environment," said Katherine T. Lee, an 18-year-old freshman at University of Maryland College Park, holding a "Free the Planet" sign. "We should all take part."

The students from Towson State University, College of Notre Dame, University of Maryland and Goucher College joined representatives from the Maryland Public Interest Research Group (MaryPIRG) and the Sierra Club on the plaza between the Baltimore County Courts Building and the old courthouse. The purpose was to explain the focus of this year's April 22 Earth Day.

"It's a rallying cry for students and concerned citizens," said Dan Pontious, director of MaryPIRG, a nonprofit, environment and consumer advocacy group. "The pace of environmental progress hasn't kept pace with environmental problems."

The campaign is part of a national effort that was launched yesterday in 62 cities in 38 states.

The local activists also released a voting chart of Maryland's congressional delegation on key environmental issues in this session of Congress. Four legislators achieved a perfect score: Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, D-3rd; Rep. Albert R. Wynn, D-4th; Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, D-5th; and Rep. Kweisi Mfume, D-7th.

Also scoring high were Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest, R-1st, and Rep. Constance A. Morella, R-8th, with 67 percent and 83 percent, respectively.

Low men on the environmental scale were Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, R-6th, with 17 percent, and Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., the freshman Republican from the 2nd District, who scored zero.

"MaryPIRG doesn't represent the environmental mainstream," Mr. Ehrlich said later. "I believe you can be pro-environment and anti-regulation."

After the rally, the environmental groups dispersed through Towson to gather signatures for a petition they will present this summer to House Speaker Newt Gingrich. It includes an Environmental Bill of Rights and an Earth Day agenda listing 25 measures to protect the environment.

Nicolle T. Hahn of Homeland, who was walking along York Road, gladly signed the petition.

"I think it's wonderful," she said. "People weren't excited about Earth Day any more."

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