When U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson announced the first Earth Day back in 1970, there were rumors that April 22 was chosen by the avid Wisconsin environmentalist as part of a commie plot, since that’s also Lenin’s birthday. Forty years later, despite continuing opposition from right-wingers who probably still believe it’s a red rather than green thing, Earth Day has become a huge, spawning worldwide network of celebrations. Among them is the annual EarthFest at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo (3900 Wildlife Way, 216.661.6500), sponsored by Cleveland’s Earth Day Coalition. It takes place from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. today, with 175 exhibits and activities to make people more aware of the impact that renewable energy, locally grown food, recycling, composting, alternative transportation and “green” home improvements can have on the environment. All activities are free with regular zoo admission: $10 adults, $7 ages 2-11. But if you register for the Earth Day Coalition’s Walk/Bike for the Earth, an easy jaunt that starts at 9 p.m. and winds up at the zoo entrance, you get in for free. Go to earthdaycoalition.org or call 216.281.6468 to sign up. — Anastasia Pantsios
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