What and When is Earth Day?
When I first conceived of Earth Day, a global
holiday to celebrate the wonder of life on our planet, I thought long and
about the day on which it should fall. It must be meaningful. One that might be accepted universally for all of humankind.
When the Vernal Equinox dawned on me, I immediately
knew it was right. The Earth tremor that shook our California dwelling
at that moment seemed an omen of confirmation. What could be more appropriate than the first moment of Spring, when day
and night are equal around the world and hearts and minds can join together with thoughts of harmony and Earth's rejuvenation.
Just as a single prayer can be siginificant, how much more so when hundreds, thousands, millions of people throughout the
world join in peaceful thoughts and prayers to nurture neighbor and nature.
And so it came to pass we initiated the celebration
of Earth Day on March 21, 1970. The first Proclamation of Earth Day was
by San Francisco, the City of Saint Francis, patron saint of ecology. Designating the First Day of Spring, March 21, 1970 to
be Earth Day, this day of nature's equipoise was later sanctioned in a Proclamation signed by Secretary General U Thant at the
United Nations where it is observed each year. Earth Day was firmly established for all time on a sound basis as an annual
event to deepen reverence and care for life on our planet.
While other dates have been called Earth Day
it is obvious that a singular Earth Day is needed and that the original
nature's day is best. More attention for this fact will increase the influence of Earth Day and its benefits.
Every effort to encourage Earth care is to
be commended. But just as more than one birthday each year for an individual
diminish the real birthday, calling other dates Earth Day detracts from the authentic day -- which can provide a more meaningful
focus and obtain more unity in our diversity. The nature of the March equinox provides a reason for an event at the same time
all over the world.
Other events leading up to or following could
be called Earth Festivals, or given other names. Then events can complement
each other and increase awareness and care for our planet and its people. In the midst of this will be Earth Day, where the
United Nations Peace Bell rings at the moment Spring begins and hearts and minds join all over the world.