'The Blue Marble.' Image taken of Earth on Dec. 7, 1972 from Apollo 17, about 18,000 miles from the planet's surface. Photo: NASA

Today, we celebrate the Earth.

The image of Earth reproduced above was taken from the Apollo 17 spacecraft on its way to the moon in December 1972, about 18,000 miles from the planet’s surface. It was the first time an Apollo trajectory allowed the astronauts to get a photo of the south polar ice cap. The image, known as “The Blue Marble,” is believed to be the most reproduced image in history.

The Blue Marble is certainly breathtakingly beautiful from afar. It is also breathtakingly beautiful close up.

Earth Day has been observed every April 22 since 1970, a day set aside to celebrate the Earth and demonstrate support for environmental protection. For more information about Earth Day, visit earthday.org

The Earth is our only home. We humans are among 8.7 million known species that inhabit this planet and depend on its environment for life. We truly can live here without destroying it. We can coexist.

Let’s cast aside the rhetoric and the politics that seem to divide us on every issue and focus on this simple proposition: We need to do everything we can to protect the Earth’s environment while we still have the opportunity to do so.

We thought we’d celebrate Earth Day this year by sharing some images of our beautiful planet taken from a very myopic, hyperlocal perspective.

RiverheadLOCAL photos by Peter Blasl except as indicated.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.