KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It's a day for taking stock of our planet. Since 1970, environmentalists have observed Earth Day, an occasion meant for taking care of the world around us.
One environmental scientist in the metro says there's still work remaining toward caring for the planet.
We still have a long way to go.
That's the earth day opinion of Kaye Johnston, a physical scientist and expert in sustainability and environmental studies at UMKC. She says we are still overusing fossil fuels, which contribute to air pollution.
Johnston said that won't change until government policy encourages change, but for now, Johnston gives our society a poor grade.
"On a global scale, I would give us a D or even an F plus," Johnston said.
Johnston says that grade is given with worldwide perspective, in a world where most nations don't cooperate with one another's environmental efforts.
"What we care about is that we use every resource up, so that there's plenty of clean air, water and land and good food for folks living in the future," Johnston said.
Johnston presents the rooftop garden at UMKC's student union, with its green space and solar panels as an example of positive efforts.
"At the local level, we're doing really good," Johnston said.
People all around the metro are doing their part, including a group called The Giving Grove, a non-profit group managed by Rob Reiman. He and a dozen volunteers spent earth day planting 40 fruit-bearing plant near the Police Athletic League facility in east Kansas City.
"This is primarily a mission to provide healthy food for people," Reiman said. "We love all the side benefits. We love the fact that it creates a park-like atmosphere."
And on Wornall Road near Waldo, thrift clothing stores such as Red Racks are conducting day-long donation drives. Lindsay Kupper works as a marketing official for that company, and maintains a fashion-related blog that focuses on re-purposed clothing.
"Statistically, one person consumes 82 pounds of textiles per year," Kupper said. "Even a few pounds of that. If each person did that, it would make a huge difference."
All proceeds from the donation drives at Red Racks stores go to benefit disabled veterans in the metro.
Johnston says the one thing we can all do to protect the environment is to think of the future. She advises that in all decisions to consider how actions can affect the world for future generations.