Earth Day Gifts / February 24, 2019 / Bobbi Oneil
In 1962 marine biologist Rachel Carson published Silent Spring. The book talked about the commonly used toxic pesticides used in agriculture and daily life. The title referred to the consequences of the devastating pesticides: a world without birds. Surprisingly Silent Spring became a hit. Americans cared and they wanted the facts. In 1968 the world saw the entire Earth for the first time. Apollo astronauts photographed the planet on their flight home from the moon. The Earth looked beautiful with its swirls of blues and whites. The photo provided a startling awareness: people saw Earth as vulnerable and needing human care.
Earth Day is Born In 1969 John McConnell promoted Earth Day as a global celebration of Earth s gifts. The equinox seemed fitting time as it was the mid-point of spring and autumn across the hemispheres. A peace activist McConnell first presented his Earth Day idea to an audience at the UNESCO Conference on the Environment. He wanted Earth Day to be a global holiday where the world celebrates Earth s wonders and gifts. On March 21 1970 cities across the globe celebrated Earth Day. McConnell created an Earth Day proclamation that called upon people to take action against crises of the world such as famine war and poverty.
He promoted Earth Day to senators governors mayors and college campuses newspaper editors. In November 1969 he formally announced a nationwide environmental teach-in called Earth Day would be held in the spring of 1970. As the event became headline news the public reacted enthusiastically. Nelson first handled Earth Day public relations from his senate office but with the public s overwhelming interest the office moved into its own organization. Founder of Common Cause John Gardner helped with a temporary office and college students helped field the office. Nelson appointed Dennis Hayes as coordinator of activities.