GREENCASTLE -- April 22 will mark the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.
To gear up for the occasion, leaders from local and state government, as well as students who participated in the DePauw University Environmental Policy Project, gathered in front of the Putnam County Courthouse to call on the U.S. Senate to take action on clean energy and climate.
Students involved in the Environmental Policy Project did research and testified on environmental issues during the Indiana General Assembly session earlier this year.
"The students were very well-respected in the Statehouse," said State Rep. Nancy Michael. "They came with a lot of knowledge."
"This year, we need to make Earth Day not just a celebration, but a clean energy revolution," he said. "I know we can and must take action ... for my generation and for generations to come."
Michael said citizens needed to ask themselves some tough questions with regard to clean energy and climate.
"Are we doing enough personally, politically and professionally?" she asked. "It's obvious we need to make sure."
Kelsey Kauffman was the faculty advisor for the DePauw Environmental Policy Project.
"These are great kids," she said. "Some of the best at DePauw."
Michael and Greencastle Mayor Sue Murray urged the Senate to stop delaying and start moving to clean energy and cut the carbon pollution that threatens America's economy, security and climate.
"America is at a pivotal moment," Michael said. "For too long, we have been reliant on foreign sources to fuel our economy. We need to encourage our leaders to incorporate energy policies that will reduce our dependence on foreign energy and move us forward on the use of renewable energy sources. We must enact policies that address the environment, provide more protection for our national security and create jobs that will be long-lasting for our nation."
"Large oil companies and their special interest allies have for too long exhorted great influence on our national energy policies," she said. "I hope our lawmakers will listen to the millions of citizens who will celebrate Earth Day this year by working to pass a comprehensive climate and energy bill We need a meaningful Earth Day rededication, not just another celebration."
Michael urged constituents to give input on environmental issues.
"It's very much a welcome thing to hear from people to say they think it's OK to move forward with environmental policies," she said. "We really want to do the right thing."
Murray said although the steps toward clean energy have been small and have come slowly, change for the good is on the horizon.
"We started talking about this in 2008," she said. "We realized back then that we weren't quite ready. But now, people are engaged. We got our first stimulus dollars, and things are happening."