- Politics and Social Issues
What is Earth Day?
What Is Earth Day?
What is Earth Day? It's a global celebration of Earth's gifts and a day to spread awareness of people's destructive behavior on the environment.
Earth Day is actually attributed to two different days - one that marks the exact moment when the northern hemisphere celebrates spring and the southern hemisphere celebrates autumn plus a education day observed on April 22nd.
Let's find out how Earth Day started, the activities surrounding it, and what you can do this coming Earth Day.
UPDATE: Some of the proceeds from this lens are donated to the charity, Global Giving.
Image credit: Permission granted from Social Traffic
Our First Picture, from The Apollo 8 Mission Astronauts
The Earth's magnificent blues and white swirls were photographed by Apollo 8 Mission Astronauts on their trip home to Earth. The photo captivated us. From this famous photo, we realized Earth's brilliance and frailty.
Photo credit, NASA.org
The History of Earth Day
The Equinox and John McConnell
The United Nations celebrate Earth Day annually in March, which marks the equinox - the astronomical mid-point of spring and autumn. In 1979, peace activist John McConnell presented the idea of Earth Day to San Francisco's UNESCO Conference on the Environment. He wanted to make others aware of Earth's bountiful gifts with a global celebration or holiday. His project received wide support from environmental activists and city leaders.
In March 1970, Earth Day was celebrated across the world's major cities. John McConnell created a Earth Day proclamation, which asked for participants to acknowledge the crisis of the world and take action. He wanted participants to end war, poverty, and famine. He saw the world as a glorious place that needed people in community action to make a difference. Earth Day would be celebrated annually, as a way to bring people of the world into one community and to share the feeling that everyone was dependent upon each other and the world.
Famous people and leaders signed the proclamation the first year. Others have signed the proclamation in subsequent years to show their support for Earth Day. Signors include Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Anthropologist Margaret Mead, U.N. President S.O. Adebo, and U.N. Secretary-General Thant, Inventor-scientist Buckminister Fuller, Japanese environmental scientist, Y. Fukushima, American senators, and others.
McConnell asked people to take responsibility for solving Earth's problems. He also coined the term, "Earth Trustee", as someone whose life and activities benefit the earth.
John McConnell's Earth Day Proclamation:
"An international EARTH DAY each year can provide a special time to draw people together in appreciation of their mutual home, Planet Earth, and bring a global feeling of community through realization of our deepening desire for life, freedom and love, and our mutual dependence on each other."
Sublime Planet (The Celebration Series of Poetry) - Poetry to Celebrate Our Earth
Award winning poets, Magdalena Ball and Carolyn Howard-Johnson once again partner together for this unique poetry book. A celebration for our Earth and our relationship to it throughout our lives.
April Earth Day
Senator Nelson's Environmental Teach-In
Another Earth Day observation takes place on April 22nd annually across the world.
Senator Gaylord Nelson, an American conservationist, founded the idea for April's Earth Day event. In the mid 1960's, Nelson toured U.S. cities, in hopes of spreading awareness of environmental issues in America. Conservationism was an ideal held by a minority of people; chemical dumps, air pollution, and fires did not raise society's concerns. He asked President Kennedy to rally support of governmental responsibility of environmental problems. Kennedy supported Nelson's idea and toured the U.S. The tour did not spring mainstream supporters into action.
In 1969, Nelson thought of a different idea to spread awareness of environmental issues: with an environmental teach-in. His idea stemmed from the widespread protests, or teach-ins, about the Vietnam War at college campuses. Certainly, it seemed like a similar approach could be used to spread awareness to a greater number of people.
Nelson started a campaign and contacted senators, legislators, mayors, other government officials, and college campuses' newspaper editors. A month into the campaign, the idea of EArth Day hit newspaper headlines. Earth Day would be celebrated in April of 1970; everyone was invited to participate.
As the days grew closer to spring, Nelson moved the Earth Day campaign from his senator's office to a separate office in Washington, D.C. Earth Day would need a supportive staff to answer letters, make calls, and organize the first Earth Day. Common Cause founder John Gardner offered a temporary office. Nelson selected Denis Hayes to coordinate activities, with college students fielding office duties.
Indeed, April's Earth Day was a success, with an outstanding number of participants: approximately 20 million people. Schools showed high level of participation, with the involvement of ten thousand grade and high schools and two thousand colleges.
Nelson's Goal for Earth Day
"A nationwide demonstration of concern for the environment so large that it would shake the political establishment out of its lethargy and, finally, force this issue permanently onto the national political agenda."
Top Ten Ways to Save Money for Earth Day
Adopt a Green Lifestyle - Every Day is Earth Day
Would you like to do more for the Earth? How about adopting some lifestyle changes that will protect our environment? Here are green products and books to help you understand the importance of green living. Real changes can happen if we treat every day as Earth Day.
Senator Gaylord Nelson's Presidential Medal of Freedom, 1995
"As the founder of Earth Day, he is the grandfather of all that grew out of that event - the Environmental Protection Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act. He also set a standard for people in public service to care about the environment and try to do something about it."
~ by President Clinton
Earth Day Posters
Remind yourself that every day is Earth Day with these great posters. Dress up your bedroom or add them to a classroom. You'll appreciate the tips on being green and admire the beauty of Earth.
Earth Day Books For Kids - Find Great Books on Earth Day
Teach kids about Earth Day with these great books. You'll be able to give them an overview of the importance of the day, as well as find Earth Day activities.