Ah…Earth Day. Recognized as a day of peace and ecology, this year the Earth Day Network expects the largest participation ever in their global events.
I’m a relative newbie to Earth Day–I attended my first Earth Day block party just two years ago. I live along the Gulf Coast of Alabama, not an area that makes too big of a deal out of this event, but I feel fortunate that I did participate. I think the thing I loved the most, besides raising my awareness about the event, was the sense of community I experienced. So many people worked together on issues that affect us all. I’m looking forward to this year’s block party.
From what I hear, this year’s emphasis is “green cities” with a push toward sustainable energy and rebuilding cities with green living in mind. (I’m certainly curious to see how the city of Mobile will take on this huge task.) If you’re an Earth Day newbie, like me, it may help to brush up on a few important facts. Did you know this?
The first Earth Day was celebrated in two thousand colleges and universities. Also at least ten thousand elementary, middle and high schools participated. Complete communities across the United States celebrated with special events. Earth Day is the largest secular holiday in the world. Environmental groups celebrate Earth Day by encouraging activism. (How did I miss that?)
The new campaign is about mobilizing and empowering volunteers on a global scale! If you’re new to Earth Day celebrations, you can catch up pretty easily. This celebration began in 1970 but there are some things you should know.
- The first Earth Day was celebrated in San Francisco on March 21, 1970. After the first event, the day was moved to April 22 where it is celebrated every year.
- This year, 175 countries will participate, according to the Earth Day Network.
- Two men are attributed as the founders of this holiday. Peace activist, John McConnell and Senator Gaylord Nelson, a Democrat from Wisconsin are both considered the founders of Earth Day.
- The emblem of E-Day is the Ecology Flag. This flag has an E/O emblem and green and white stripes. Ron Cobb created this flag in 1969.
- The Earth Day anthem is actually Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.”
- Organizers predict that at least one billion people will participate in some green activity this year.
- Japan gave the UN the Peace Bell in 1954 to encourage peace on earth. At the beginning of each Earth Day celebration this bell rings. This massive bell weighs 256 pounds and is 3 ft 3 in tall and has a base diameter of 2 ft 0 in. Children across 60 nations collected coins that make up the bell.
Contact your community leaders to find out more about local Earth Day events. My city isn’t holding an official activity but several local communities are banding together to clean up some neighborhoods. It’s going to be fantastic!