WHY THE MARCH EQUINOX IS THE ONLY TRUE EARTH DAY
Throughout the many decades of my life previous to my founding of EARTH DAY March 21, 1970, I pondered over how the many differences that confront our world could find a peaceful resolution, instead of being in an almost constant confrontation. My key solution was to focus attention on the most important common ground and the positive values shared by adversaries.
National holidays, as well as religious ones, have special days set: a good example of people coming together to peacefully celebrate.
And so I, John McConnell, drew attention to a time that is celebrated by the entire world -- THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING: Nature's moment of the Equinox when the Sun crosses the celestial equator causing the length of day and night to be equal -- a state of equilibrium throughout the Earth. This is the true EARTH DAY, not because I selected it, but because it originates in the Earth's own rotation and revolution.
The first day of Spring, a day that historically has been celebrated by people of every creed and culture -- is a day worthy of being a holiday of all of Earth's people.
The first EARTH DAY, celebrated in the United States, was on March 21, 1970. It has been celebrated each year thereafter at the United Nations, bringing attention to its original purpose: peace, justice and the care of Earth.
The highlight of each ceremony has been the ringing of the Peace Bell, occasionally by leaders of countries who may have been at war with each other. Presentations are made by great proponents of peaceful methods for conciliation. Indeed, these ceremonies have been a boost in efforts being made for peace. For example, on EARTH DAY in 1987 the Peace Bell was rung by the representatives of three different cultures and religions. They were Chester Morris, from the United States Mission to the United Nations, Valentine Karymov, from the USSR Mission to the United Nations and Sheik Ali Mukhtar, representing the Muslim World League.
Emulation of such an event as EARTH DAY is bound to occur. Attempts to use different dates and to execute similar programs has been made.
The principal hindrance for EARTH DAY to fulfill its potentials was initiated by the organizers of the "Environmental Teach-In" when they announced that April 22 would be Earth Day. This group of individuals has used "Earth Day" as a fund raising tool for their projects and political aims.
It should be recognized that great good cannot come from deception or misdirection. Human history has produced great ideas that were defeated - not by open opposition, but by words that confuse.
It is my hope that in this new millennium of new beginnings the truth will get attention. It's great to have different days for special things. There would be no problem if the organizers of the April 22 "Earth Day" would call it by its original name "Environmental Teach-In" or "Eco Day" or any name other than Earth Day.
Some discouraged by the confusion say, "Well, let's just call every day Earth Day." But they see the problem with this idea when we counter, "Forget the day you were born, call every day your birthday."
Nothing should be done to legitimize calling April 22 "Earth Day." When the geophysical, original EARTH DAY is understood, and celebrated, the global state of mind and the actions of its people will assure a healthy prosperous future.
While people may have events leading up to EARTH DAY - or following EARTH DAY - the object of EARTH DAY is to have ONE great annual occasion where the whole human family will forget their differences and celebrate the wonder of our planet - its life and its human family.
EARTH DAY web site: www.earthsite.org
NOTE: Some have said "April is warmer and better for outdoor events." Events to help the environment or other worthy causes can be at any time locally suitable. But the idea of EARTH DAY was a simultaneous global event. As far as weather is concerned, there is no day when weather is more suitable globally than other days.
In the United States weather is usually better in April - even better in June when World Environment Day occurs. But on any given day you will find parts of the world that are freezing while others are too hot. Storms come at different times in different parts of the world. The advantages of the March Equinox outweigh these difficulties.