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Earth Day 2021 highlights issues from climate change to personal responsibility

Updated: Apr. 22, 2021 at 3:20 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Today is Earth Day. It’s a day that means different things to different people, but its main goal is to increase environmental awareness and encourage efforts to reduce pollution.

The first Earth Day was in 1970. So many who commemorate it today were not even born when it started.

But many young people embrace it with open arms to improve and maybe even preserve life on our planet.

There are many issues this Earth Day from climate change to reducing food waste.

Some people plant a tree, and some people resolve to take more personal responsibility - maybe by recycling or turning off the lights.

This week, activists with the group “Healthy Gulf” visited Lake Charles to promote a cleaner, healthier environment.

They want to increase awareness of pollution and environmental concerns. Local community organizer Roishetta Ozane of Westlake has six children she wants to grow up in a clean environment.

“I think about what kind of earth it will be for them in the future. What kind of air will they be breathing? What kind of water will they be drinking?” Ozane said.

Ozane says a clean environment is key to maintaining what people love most about Louisiana.

“We like crawfish, we like fishing. Louisiana is sportsman’s paradise. We want to continue to be able to enjoy those things.”

Campaign developer for Healthy Gulf Raleigh Hoke says they are for an economy that provides good jobs but also protects people and the environment.

“We need to transition away from polluting industry, from the petrochemical industry, and toward good-paying jobs for residents that aren’t further polluting our economy.”

Local industry officials say they are committed to environmental stewardship and work continually to reduce emissions.

“Local industries are committed to environmental stewardship and continually strive to reduce emissions. As part of our overall environmental commitment, industries follow strict operating standards and procedures, as well as comply with environmental laws and regulations that govern our operations,” said Jim Rock with the Lake Area Industry Alliance.

“For decades, industry has worked alongside federal and state regulators, our communities, our partners and employees to reduce emissions,” said Rock.

“Our employees not only work, but live in Southwest Louisiana, and value environmental sustainability. The thousands of employees that work in our industries are proud to be a positive and significant component of our local economy,” he said.

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