Thirty years ago, a national grassroots protest took place over what was happening to the environment. The organizers of the first Earth Day believed that if they could tap into the environmental concerns of the general public and infuse energy for environmental causes, they could force a political agenda for the greening of America.

What followed was an electric response. American people finally believed they had a forum to express their concern about what was happening to their land, water and air.

Today, Earth Day is not celebrated the way it was three decades ago, but instead has become a way of life for many.

Groups as well as individuals have taken over the cause. Organizations have mobilized over the years to focus on specific issues such as; conservation and wetland commissions, land trusts, Residents for Rural Roads and rid litter day.

Even on the state level, regulations have been set in place to enhance the greening of America in small communities. Programs such as scenic road designations for both state and local roadways have been put into place.

Local ordinances have been enacted to protect the environment such as the tree ordinance project spear headed by Orange resident Gail Nixon.

Recycling has become a way of life in all communities. And now, at the request of residents, Orange is investigating recycling glossy magazines. This would then cut down on the waste in the already over-extended landfills. Many of Connecticut's landfills have closed because they reached capacity, and trucking waste is already not an uncommon practice.

All of these efforts should be applauded. But we wonder if we as local communities are doing enough. Should we be focusing more on preserving open space, placing an even higher premium on controlling over development, adding more to the town coffers to purchase those desirable tracts of land once they come on the market?

Should we perhaps consider outlawing the use of pesticides where ground water such as wells could possibility be affected? Should we look further for what to safely use to protect out communities from the West Nile Virus?

And, finally, should we re-think applications from developers for the sake of wildlife and the plant world, as well as ourselves? Clear cutting and grading can impair or destroy ecosystems.

Earth Day is a time to seek answers to these questions on how to protect the natural resource base on which our economy - and lives - depend.