International Earth Day, aka
The First Day of ...
America's story of Earth Day will be celebrated on April 22, 2016. So, what is the connection of International Earth Day to the first day of Spring?
International Earth Day was proposed in 1969 by John McConnell at a UNESCO meeting in San Francisco. The idea was “to celebrate the need to preserve and renew the threatened ecological balance upon which all life on Earth depends.” Its celebration falls on March 20, 2016, which is the day of the vernal equinox, more popularly known as the first day of spring.
So why do we celebrate Earth Day on April 22 in the US? A senator from Wisconsin named Gaylord Nelson planned an ecological summit for April 22 in 1970. In 1969 Senator Nelson approached McConnell with the idea of making April 22 Earth Day to coincide with the beginning of the summit, but McConnell declined, wanting to keep the vernal equinox as the date. Senator Nelson proposed April 22 as Earth Day at the summit and the United States made it official.
John McConnell had his reasons for keeping the vernal equinox as International Earth Day. One is it is the first day of spring and a time of renewal. But more importantly, it also the time when day and night are equal throughout the planet. It is a time of perfect balance and a reminder to us of how we need to live, in harmony and balance.
From the tiniest hint of green
To the red tip of a blackbird's wing
Aromatic scents of clover
Announce winter's finally over