As we all prepare to flip the calendar (or swipe it on our phones) in just a couple of days, it dawned on me that we are leaving another decade. Where does time go?

As I celebrate the arrival of a new year, and decade, it occurred to me that 2020 will mark the 50th anniversary of a couple of landmarks in modern time -- Earth Day and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.

April 22, 1970. The first Earth Day. It’s never gained national holiday status but it’s always been an event worth remembering in our social consciousness.

It was created by Wisconsin U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in. Nelson, by the way, was my guest at a conference of the Georgia Association of Newscasters fall meeting at Amicalola Falls State Lodge almost 30 years ago.

We only have one Earth. Think about that for a few seconds. Man and woman, as we know him and her, don’t exist anyplace else in this magnificent universe.

Personally, I believe The Creator provided us with everything we need to sustain life on this orb. And not just to get by, but to enjoy life to the fullest. It’s ours to take care of. In fact it says so right there in the first book of the Holy Bible, Genesis-1:26 for those of you who care to look.

I prefer the old King James version that uses the phrase "dominion over all the Earth." That means we're responsible for it. It means we're not supposed to trash it.

Emma Wells, coordinator of the Keep Rome Floyd Beautiful program, has the most thankless job in the community, picking up after everybody else!

I am at most often at peace when I am out for a walk in nature, usually by myself, clearing the clutter that fogs up my mind. That, by the way, is another reason I like to walk.

My best friend on this planet, or any other for that matter, signed off a card several years ago with "Your Nature Buddy." That meant so much that I still have it tucked away with important papers.

Thanks in no small part to the EPA, nature has gotten a second chance over the last half-century.

Yes, some of the rules and regulations can be burdensome. Former Congressman Bob Barr once used some choice words a number of years ago to describe Tennessee yellow-eyed grass -- an endangered species on the route of the West Rome Bypass -- which he argued could not possibly be endangered because the Georgia Department of Transportation was finding it everywhere they wanted to build a road in North Georgia.

The EPA has added millions of dollars and who knows how much time to new developments, whether it be a highway or a new shopping center, but the underlying intent of the regulations are good. Darn good. We only have one Earth.

To borrow from one of my musical heroes, John Denver, in his anthem to the outdoors "Rocky Mountain High," (the best lyrics ever written by the way) "they try to tear the mountains down to bring in a couple more, more people, more scars upon the land."

Developers are not bad folks, we need jobs and, yeah, we need a few more places to shop. But we only have one Earth! Let's love it and protect it.

And by the way, I do enjoy company on a walk. Join me at the First Day Hike at Lock and Dam Park Wednesday at 10 a.m.

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