In a sense, for this year's local Earth Day celebration, our planet will share the spotlight with another celestial body: the sun.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources will hold its 23rd annual Earth Day celebration from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday on the south lawn at the Capitol.
This year's theme is "Total Solar Eclipse of 2017." The theme recognizes the first total eclipse of the sun to visit Missouri in 148 years, which will occur on Aug. 21. The 1869 eclipse only slipped the northeast corner of the Show-Me State, but the 2017 eclipse will begin its sweep from the northwest corner of Missouri to Cape Girardeau.
DNR will provide several telescopes with solar-protective lenses to look through at the Earth Day celebration.
Also at the event will be a variety of displays and educational opportunities for anyone interested in finding out more about improving the world around them.
Erin and Matt, 94.3 Kat Country radio personalities, will host on the main stage at the Earth Day event. The public will have a chance to play a couple of rounds of the new educational "Solar Eclipse Survivor" game.
Missouri American Water will sponsor the World Bird Sanctuary shows at 11:15 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
Regardless of your political bent, Earth Day is worth celebrating. Rather than let Earth Day devolve into climate change arguments, let's celebrate together. There are lots of things to celebrate, locally and nationally. Here are just a few examples:
Jefferson City's trash/recycling program, while controversial at the start, has worked well, and has reduced the amount of waste headed for the landfill.
Scientific development continues to improve the conversion of wind, solar and geothermal heat, improving our lives with other viable options to fossil fuels.
Years ago, predictions were made that hydrogen-powered cars would be on the roads by 2020. That prediction was not that far off.
The technology is here, but right now they are mainly limited to California, where most of the 34 public hydrogen fueling stations in the U.S. are located, according to a recent Associated Press story.
Still, automakers are investing heavily in the technology. General Motors recently supplied the U.S. Army with a fuel cell pickup truck, and GM and Honda are collaborating on a fuel cell system due out by 2020. Hyundai will introduce a longer-range fuel cell SUV next year.
This Earth Day, let's extol our planet as we look forward to future developments that will benefit us and the earth. We urge area residents to stop by the Capitol on Friday and celebrate Mother Earth.