Tuesday, 22 April 2014

A Celebration of Earth 2014

Did you know that Earth Day came into existence on April 22, 1970? I have to admit, this isn’t a fact of which I was completely aware before today. I mean, I know Earth Day has been a ‘thing’ for quite some time, but I wasn’t aware of its exact origins until I Googled it and did some research over the past couple of days. Interesting! From Earth Day Canada:    

“Celebrated every year on April 22, Earth Day is the largest environmental event in the world. More than six million Canadians – including nearly every school-aged child – participate in an Earth Day activity in their communities.”

Earth Day was founded (as mentioned above, in 1970) as a day of recognition and education with respect to environmental issues. It’s globally celebrated, and has actually been extended to Earth Week – seven days of events centered on the advancement of “green awareness” and just plain being appreciative of all the wonders our incredible planet has to offer.

So, according to Earth Day Network, at a time when “Americans were slurping leaded gas through massive V8 sedans” and “Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of legal consequences or bad press” and “Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity” (Really??), the idea for Earth Day came to Gaylord Nelson, a Senator from Wisconsin. (It must be said here that there has been some debate as to the actual founder of Earth Day – according to other sources, John McConnell, a peace activist was the first to propose that we celebrate the planet on March 21 (also in 1970), the first official day of spring.)
“As a result, on the 22nd of April, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.”

So how did we Canadians first come to celebrate Earth Day? Earth Day was first recognized in Canada in 1978 (although, again, I have read conflicting articles that put it in 1980), but the first actual Canadian Earth Day fell on September 11 and was introduced by Dr. Paul Tinari, then a student at Queen’s University and today a physicist, solar engineer and, oh yeah, the Director of the Pacific Institute for Advanced Study (which is a virtual research and development facility that studies the issues challenging our fair planet).

Earth Day is a day to make us ponder, enjoy, improve and truly appreciate our planet.  Try to do these things every day and Earth will be as breathtaking as it is today, for generations to come.  So, get out there and pick up garbage, plant a tree and just take in the wonderment that is Planet Earth!

And, hey, maybe one of these days somebody will declare Earth Day a stat holiday! All the more reason to celebrate!

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