The Washington Times - April 24, 2009, 07:24AM

Ever since some fellow in Philadelphia thought up the yearly celebration we now know as Earth Day I kind of get a kick out of the people who insist we commemorate this earth-shaking event.

There was a time when only very liberal activist groups got involved in it. Before the advent of e-mails, I’d get phone calls asking – nay, demanding – that the outdoors column be dedicated to Earth Day and my answer became pretty standard.

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“I celebrate Earth Day every day of the year,” I’d tell some bewildered female who, honestly, did not know how to counter what I’d just said. But I wasn’t kidding. It’s a fact. Every morning of my life I give thanks for the Earth we live on – the woods and waters, the fields, animals, and everything else so many of us take for granted.

I abhor the desecration of our planet. I absolutely detest trash merchants and a while back “adopted” the road I live on, picking up thoughtlessly discarded trash and garbage thrown out by the very people who live there. It is quite obvious that the folks whose houses and properties touch our dead-end rural road do not celebrate anything that has to do with a clean Earth.

Every couple of weeks I easily fill a trash bag with discarded cans, empty cigarette packs, soda bottles and various plastic shopping bags. One of my rural neighbors apparently smokes cigars that are sold in a plastic tube of some kind because I find empty cigar tubes along roadside spots from week to week.

What kind of pig is it who believes that candy wrappers, sandwich bags, empty bottles or cigar containers need to be thrown from a car or truck window?

But enough of my complaints. What about the newcomers who  celebrate Earth Day, the special event that used to be the exclusive property of perennially smiling longhairs, guitar pickers and self-styled poets?

Al Gore came along and told us to be ashamed of ourselves. He taught us that we were killing our planet while he travels about in a gas-guzzling SUV, turning on every light switch in his Tennessee mansion. Oprah did a special Earth Day show this week, informing us about how much garbage we create every day, admonishing us to “make a difference by going green.” She wagged her finger at her audience and told America to go a week without using even one plastic bag. The Earth will be the better for it, she’s convinced.

You can say things like that when you’re richer than five Arab oil sheiks.

But now, we even have the hunter/conservation group Ducks Unlimited getting in on the Earth Day thing. Ducks Unlimited executives met with Senate leaders on Capitol Hill April 22 to highlight the need to “incorporate wildlife concerns into climate change legislation, especially in the endangered prairie ecosystem.”

The words Earth Day came into play a few times. Hey, I’m okay with that, but why use Earth Day to meet with Senate big-wigs? Wouldn’t they listen any other day as well? As I said earlier, I celebrate our Earth every day of the year.