Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day—Where, When, And Why

Today…Sunday, April 22, is officially Earth Day.

Said to have been created in 1969 at a UNESCO conference in San Francisco, the name and idea for Earth Day was first observed on March 21, 1970—the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. This day in celebration of the Earth was put into a proclamation signed by UN Secretary General U Thant.

And at about the same time, a separate Earth Day was founded in the United States as an environmental teach-in first observed on April 22, 1970. The April 22nd date was taken international in 1990 with organized events focusing on environmental issues in 141 nations.

The impetus for an Earth Day came following the huge oil spill in 1969 off the coast of Santa Barbara, California. Originally designed as a teach-in on environmental issues to be observed on every college campus in the United States. The name Earth Day was a logical and obvious suggestion made by several people in the fall of 1969.

The April 22, 1970, Earth Day was the beginning of the modern environmental movement. Media coverage of the first April 22 Earth Day included Walter Cronkite narrating a CBS News Special Report, Earth Day: A Question Of Survival.

Earth Day became a popular event in the United States and soon around the world as well. Earth Day seemed to work because of a grassroots level enthusiasm that quickly spread.

In 1990, on the 20th anniversary of Earth Day in the United States, the observation officially went global in 141 countries. The status of environmental issues now had stronger marketing tools, greater access to television and radio, and multimillion-dollar budgets.

Earth Day 2000 marked the first time the movement used the internet as its principle means of organization both locally and internationally.

Today is Earth Day's 42nd anniversary.  Earth Day continues to grow in membership, number of countries participating, and the scope of its effectiveness. We only have one planet and need to do everything we can to preserve it.


Karen Michelle Nutt said...

Interesting post. I had wondered when Earth Day started. I knew it had been some time, but I never guessed 42 years.

I also thought it was April 21st at one time. (It's my husband's birthday so that's why I remembered.)

Samantha Gentry said...

Karen: It's definitely possible that it may have been observed on April 21 at some time. There were different people and organizations working on getting Earth Day established before it all became united as one thing.

Thanks for commenting.

Vonnie Davis said...

Great post on Earth Day. Did I ever tell you how much I enjoyed Deja Vu? What a great read!!! Happy Earth Day.

Samantha Gentry said...

Vonnie: Many glad you enjoyed DEJA VU!!

Thanks for your comments.