The Garden City Telegram

Green goals

Earth Day offers reminder of ways to protect planet.

More than 1,200 students are expected to converge on Lee Richardson Zoo this week.

They'll be taking in the outstanding Garden City attraction for a special and timely reason. Wednesday brings Earth Day, an annual observance at the zoo that offers an opportunity for youngsters to learn more about environment-friendly endeavors.

Activities will help students better understand water, recycling, wildlife, energy efficiency and other "green" areas of interest.

Rather than learning as much in a traditional classroom environment, students will experience such unusual and interesting hands-on lessons as creating a home for wild amphibians.

This year's theme, "Pledge for the Planet: Changes You Can Make," also will have participants learning different ways to reduce their carbon footprint.

It's easy to see how the local venue provides an ideal setting for earth-friendly lessons.

While Earth Day at the zoo has become an anticipated and fun annual event, it also should remind us that our environment needs year-round help and support.

For one, we need to pay attention to what has happened with energy in Kansas. Progress in growing wind farms would be but one positive sign.

While some special-interest groups may disagree, renewable energy has become an indispensable part of utilities' quest to be more innovative in producing cleaner energy and meeting consumer needs.

Unfortunately, relentless pressures to eliminate production tax credits and repeal the Kansas renewable energy standards threaten to slow growth of those ventures.

Lawmakers and other policymakers should instead stay on a course that encourages wind, ethanol and other renewable energy, along with energy conservation proposals that put Kansas on a "greener" path.

Water conservation is another high priority. In a region where rainfall is scarce and lingering drought exacts a costly toll, every attempt to conserve water matters — from the farm fields to businesses and homes.

Earth Day brings a time to reflect on ways to preserve our planet and its precious resources, and the need to reverse the kind of problems that cloud our future.

Lingering challenges and success stories alike give us plenty of reminders of as much on the local front.