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Saturday, 05 April 2014 00:00

Happy Earth Month

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Earth flag PDOn my daily commute, I’ve been listening to a series of interviews that Bill Moyers did with Joseph Campbell in the 1980’s called The Power of Myth. The interviews were first broadcast on PBS in 1988 – a year after Campbell died at the age of 83.

Most readers will have heard of Moyers, a regular on PBS for many years, but may not be as familiar with Campbell. In fact, this is my first foray into Campbell’s works that explore the role of mythology in human culture.

I was struck by a comment Campbell made about seeing a photo of the Earth from space: “When you see the Earth from space, you don't see any divisions of nation-states there. This may be the symbol of the new mythology to come; this is the country we will celebrate, and these are the people we are one with.”

Sounds like Earth Day.

The concept of Earth Day was first proposed to the United Nations by publisher John McConnell in 1969 as a worldwide event to honor the Earth and promote world peace. According to, “McConnell suggested an annual observance to remind the people of Earth of their shared responsibility as environmental stewards. He chose the vernal equinox…because it is a day of renewal.”

In March 1970, the UN Secretary-General issued a proclamation that read: “May there be only peaceful and cheerful Earth Days to come for our beautiful Spaceship Earth as it continues to spin and circle in frigid space with its warm and fragile cargo of animate life.”

The first Earth Day celebration in the United States occurred April 22, 1970 – a month after the first day of spring - and continues to this day across the planet. That first event was organized by US Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin as an environmental “teach-in” on college campuses. Nelson chose the date in late April for practical reasons: the weather was likely to be good and the timing would not conflict with school vacations or college exams. The event brought 20 million Americans out to advocate for the Environment.

The flag used for Earth Day depicts the Earth as seen from space against a deep blue background. Please keep that image in mind, and remember that the Earth is the only home we have – all of us: humans of all races and religions, all the animals and plants of all shapes and sizes.

If we take care of her, she will take care of us.

Read 9451 times Last modified on Wednesday, 25 February 2015 11:57
Lisa Haderlein

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