The Evolution of Earth Day

People throughout the world will be honoring Earth Day this weeked, in celebrations big and small. Senator Gaylord Nelson (Wisconsin) first started discussions to create an initiative to focus on the environment in 1963 while he was on the Conservation Tour with President Kennedy. At a conference in Seattle in November 1969, Nelson declared that on April 22, 1970, there would be a day of national focus on the environment. The upcoming event quickly spread across the country and over 20 million people participated.

I really like this quote on Earth Day from Margaret Mead, as it seems to embody the sentiment of this holiday:

“EARTH DAY is the first holy day which transcends all national borders, yet preserves all geographical integrities, spans mountains and oceans and time belts, and yet brings people all over the world into one resonating accord, is devoted to the preservation of the harmony in nature and yet draws upon the triumphs of technology, the measurement of time, and instantaneous communication through space. EARTH DAY draws on astronomical phenomena in a new way – which is also the most ancient way – using the vernal Equinox, the time when the Sun crosses the equator making night and day of equal length in all parts of the Earth. To this point in the annual calendar, EARTH DAY attaches no local or divisive set of symbols, no statement of the truth or superiority of one way of life over another.”

Today, Earth Day celebrated in over 140 countries. As time passes, the necessity for us to expand our consciousness around this issue becomes increasingly important. Let’s get everyone involved. Take your kids to an event! Take your neighbors! Honor the Earth and have fun!

Earth Day events take place all week. Find out about “official” Earth Day events at the Earth Day Network.