WHY TWO EARTH DAYS?
June 14, 1999
Imagine one day every year when nature is in perfect balance; one day when night and day are equal in length.
That day is called the Spring Equinox. The time this occurs will change every year, but is always on March 20 or 21. When spring officially arrives, it symbolizes rebirth and a reminder that there is harmony in nature, regardless of what we do. Nature is stronger than our creations and us mere humans. Things, people, creatures, everything can come and go but the Spring Equinox has been since the beginning of time, and will always be. It's nature's way of reminding us that life goes on and that for everything there is a season.
The Spring Equinox is significant in many cultures that celebrate it as their New Year. There are many traditions that have been passed down from the dawn of man that relate to the Spring Equinox and its symbolism. In many ways, the Spring Equinox seems to be nature's way of celebrating herself.
Knowing all this and much more about the spring equinox, doesn't it make sense to make the first day of spring a day to celebrate nature? Sounds pretty logical, right? That's what John McConnell, the man who started Earth Day thought too. Earth Day was celebrated for the first time on March 21, 1970.
Earth Day is the only NATURAL holiday that is non-denominational in every way, and the most significant because nature is teaching us by example how we should live. By exploring what happens on that day, we see examples of hope, faith and love. Hope because the cycle always continues, faith because of the rebirth, and love because its the only ingredient that makes everything else possible. Love, even if only for oneself, is the catalyst for all that is.
The spring equinox is rich with symbolism and tradition, and that's what makes a day special and memorable. For example, December 25th would mean nothing to Christians all over the world, were it not for the fact that it symbolizes the birth of Jesus. The exact day of his birth has never been pinpointed. However, traditions say that it has been celebrated on December 25th since the year 98 AD. Of course, you could celebrate Christmas anytime you want, but the actual day is December 25th. Celebrating on this date for nearly 2000 years gives this day its special significance to Christians and non-Christians alike.
This brings us back to the importance of symbolism. Since 1970, Earth Day has been celebrated annually by two distinct and separate groups that both call themselves "Earth Day". The first Earth Day was celebrated on the Spring Equinox (nature's own holiday) March 21, 1970 and is recognized by the United Nations, where the Peace Bell is rung every year. The other was first celebrated a month later on April 22, 1970. It is also still celebrated today.
Why did this happen?
Why can't two groups that are aiming for exactly the same thing join, rather than compete?
The answer is simple and complex at the same time, but it all boils down to one thing: power.
You may wonder who has the power and why. Research reveals that The Original Earth Day Idea by John McConnell was conceived, discussed and planned for years prior to the official announcement of the Spring Equinox Earth Day date. There are rooms full of filing cabinets containing countless documents proving John McConnell's vision and tireless efforts to bring Earth Day and all its benefits about. The projects and conceptualization that led to Earth Day date back to the 1950's. But John McConnell is one man.
The other Earth Day group of April 22nd probably have even more documents, but the truth is the truth and no amount of documents can change truth.
The April 22nd Earth Day was originally intended as an environmental teach-in during the days of protest and chaos surrounding the Viet-Nam war. This drew large crowds of people who thought they were protecting the earth, so they called it "Earth Day". The fact that Senator Gaylord Nelson seized the opportunity, called it his idea, and had the political and financial backing to promote it is why, nearly 30 years later, this confusion still exists. That's where the balance of power lies...
Now, who do you think should give in, and why?
Is it right to call April 22nd Earth Day, just because it's more publicized due to money and power? Or is it right to celebrate Earth Day on the day that nature herself chose, a day that symbolizes everything that Earth Day represents from the beginning of time itself? That is the question.
The answer is simple. So simple, in fact, that a little child can figure it out in a second.
Will logic, eternal symbolism, and nature herself win? It would be a good idea to let Mother Nature win. She might be more willing to forgive us our constant abuse.
Another question can be: why designate one day as Earth Day at all? Shouldn't every day be Earth Day? Absolutely! Yes, every day should be Earth Day because we live on earth every day.
Just as in the above-mentioned example, if you're a Christian, you're a Christian every day, not just on Christmas Day. But commemorations, anniversaries, holidays, birthdays, and other special days are important, because they serve in many ways. They reinforce our beliefs, strengthen our commitment, remind us of the important things in life, and much more.
Earth Day has inspired millions of people around the world to do their part for nearly thirty years. Hundreds of years ago, we didn't need Earth Day, because we weren't killing our earth. We've done more damage to our planet in the last hundred years than was done since the beginning of humankind. Wow, we're something, aren't we?
Are we going to be known in history as the ones who destroyed planet earth? I hope not. Because then, there may be no one left to write or read the history.
The Earth Day Proclamation, the official pledge to live as Earth Trustees, has been signed by presidents, officials, mayors, astronauts, peace-makers, dignitaries, humanitarians, artists, and visionaries. It is at the United Nations since 1970.
The Earth Day Magna Charta proposes viable solutions for the problems that face society: from economic sustainability to environmental quality and everything in between. By adopting those recommendations, every individual, home, city, country, and the entire earth will benefit tremendously.
Now is the time to do something new: to really go to the roots of the problems, and work on them. It's wonderful that Earth Day has done so much in terms of making people aware of the problems but now, it's time to focus on solutions. Everybody should unite in this common cause: from the grassroots up and from the elected officials down. Implementing the Earth Day Magna Charta is the key to the shift that will make us the heroes of our time, instead of the destroyers.
Take action! Read the Earth Magna Charta. Learn to live as an Earth Trustee. Every day is an opportunity to ensure that future generations will have the chance to enjoy our beautiful planet too.
Earth Day is March 20, 2000 at 2:35 AM, Eastern Standard Time. Check your local time.
The Peace Bell will ring at 2:35 AM EST at the United Nations in New York, and at the same time it will ring in Vienna, Moscow, Iran, and many other places throughout the world.
Add your wishes for world peace and earth's rejuvenation. Celebrate Earth Day March 20, 2000, wherever you are!
WOW Earth Trustees:
Earth Day Site: www.earthsite.org