Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, everyone can get behind the idea of protecting the planet.
Since 1970, when the first Earth Day was held in San Francisco, the annual celebration has spread to cities throughout the nation and more than 140 other countries.
Modesto is not left out of the festivities. The State Theatre is planning an Earth Day screening of the documentary "Rivers of a Lost Coast" on Thursday and the city of Modesto's
20th annual Earth Day in the Park at Graceada Park is April 18. Modesto Junior College had its celebration Thursday.
Film screening: "Rivers of a Lost Coast," Thursday, State Theatre — Made by filmmakers Justin Coupe, 28, and Palmer Taylor, 26, who met at the University of California at Santa Cruz, this documentary centers on the rise and fall of coastal fisheries in far north California. The movie follows a community of fly-fishing fanatics that experienced the best fishing conditions in the 1940s and 1950s.
"I knew these guys growing up," said Coupe, who was raised in Sacramento and began fly fishing for steelhead at age 12. "Not all of them, but I knew a few of them. They were so much older than me and there was a gigantic gap between them and myself. As this generation passes, their stories are going to go away."
Over four years, Coupe began to record stories of a very small group of fly fishermen that came from the valley and the Bay Area to practice their hobby along California's north coast. The men were extremely innovative at their sport and were practicing cutting-edge techniques in the middle of nowhere, Coupe said.
By the late 1970s, the party was over, however, and most of the fish were gone. The fishing fanatics were left wondering what happened.
"They experienced an unpopulated California where the rivers were still in pretty good shape and they were absolutely loaded with fish," Coupe said.
The film, which is narrated by actor Tom Skerritt from "A River Runs Through It," earned a positive review from the San Francisco Chronicle.
Earth Day in the Park, April 18, Graceada Park — The popular free event has drawn up to 15,000 people with a combination of food and crafts booths and performances.
Beverly McCullough, recycling coordinator for the city, said this year's theme is "Back to the Basics: Reduce, Re-use, Recycle."
"It's all about green education," she said. "This is our one time of year to really have an opportunity to put together a family friendly atmosphere, a little bit of entertainment, draw people in and inundate them with information about the environment and what they can do to make it a better place."
There should be 80 to 90 vendors, including restaurants, city utilities, environmental clubs, rare fruit growers and more, McCullough said.
The city will offer free paper shredding for up to 10 record storage boxes per person, as well as free drop-off for old cell phones, batteries and ink-jet cartridges.
The Ripon Bagpipe Band will perform three times throughout the day. Other entertainers will include Hindsight — which plays music from artists such as rock band Chicago — belly dancers and martial-arts enthusiasts. The Police Department's K9 unit also will give a demonstration, and a bounce house will be available for children.
In addition to the city, event sponsors are the Modesto Nuts baseball team, Bertolotti Disposal Service, Modesto Junk Company and Covanta Energy Inc.
McCullough said she is very appreciative of the sponsors because total sponsorship dollars are down one-third from last year's event.
"Frankly, without these guys, there would be no event," she said. "It's a little leaner, but I expect it to be just as fun. It's a free event, it's a family event."