In 1970, populist activist John McConnell and Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson separately asked Americans, used to the nature-loving hippie movement, to join in a grassroots demonstration FOR THE EARTH.
McConnell chose the Spring Equinox on March 21st, 1970 and Nelson chose April 22nd, because it would fall after Easter. Millions of people participated, mostly on April 22nd. Common Earth Day activities included planting flowers and trees, cleaning up litter, or simply enjoying nature through hiking, gardening or strolling through a local park, or participating in local demonstrations.
This year being the 48th anniversary of Earth Day celebrations, which now include Canada and countries around the world, the theme is “Save Species”. Since the first Earth Day observance in 1970, 40% of the world’s animal population has been lost forever. “Besides the more visibly exotic African animals under threat, bees and other insects responsible for pollinating the world’s plant population continue to be decimated by the use of insecticides,” according to the experts. “Marine mammals have been devastated, with turtles particularly hard hit due to the destruction of nesting grounds. Meanwhile, climate change threatens almost 75% of the world’s coral reefs.”
Due to the present American Administration policies, the Endangered Species Act is also under threat with plans to lift or soften protections for more than 1,300 endangered or threatened species in the USA.
Earth Day is the largest Secular holiday in the world, with more than 500 million people taking part in some 193 countries. Earth Day observances led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.
Numerous communities celebrate Earth Week, an entire week of activities focused on environmental issues that the world faces today. On Earth Day 2016, the landmark Paris Climate Protection Agreement was signed by the US, China, and some 120 other countries. However, President Donald Trump of the US does not agree with the science of climate change and has backed off from the Agreement.
Maybe it’s time for some wise words:
“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” — Native American Proverb —
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtfully committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” –Margaret Mead–
ARBOR DAY is the last Friday in April, depending on the weather, and is the day dedicated to the planting of new trees all across America. Fruit trees, Maple trees, Oaks and Dogwoods, and even pines and firs are firmly rooted in the soil for generations to come. If you have a chance in your lifetime to plant a tree, then do so, for it is quite an achievement to be proud of!