Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day humor

Hopefully, we are changing for the better

Happy Earth Day!

April 22, 1970 was the first Earth Day and continues on this date each year. The idea of an Earth Day started in the 1960s and came into being in the 1970s.
The purpose of this celebration is intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's natural environment.
Earth Day was founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson (1916-2005), Democrat from Wisconsin as an environmental teach-in first held on April 22, 1970.l. He was passionate about the environment. After Nelson's 1980 defeat for reelection, he became counselor for The Wilderness Society in January 1981. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in September 1995 in recognition of his environmental work.
Senator Nelson chose the date in order to maximize participation on college campuses for what he conceived as an "environmental teach-in". He determined the week of April 19–25 was the best bet as it did not fall during exams or spring breaks. Moreover, it did not conflict with religious holidays such as Easter or Passover, and was late enough in spring to have decent weather. More students were likely to be in class, and there would be less competition with other mid-week events,so he chose Wednesday, April 22.
While this first Earth Day was focused on the United States, an organization launched by Denis Hayes, who was the original national coordinator in 1970, took it international in 1990 and organized events in 141 nations. Denis Hayes, a Harvard graduate student, read the NYT article and traveled to Washington to get involved. Nelson eventually asked Hayes to drop out of Harvard, assemble a staff, and direct the effort to organize the United States. Hayes would go on to become a widely recognized environmental advocate. Earth Day is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network, and is celebrated in more than 175 countries every year. Numerous communities celebrate Earth Week, an entire week of activities focused on environmental issues.
In 2009, the United Nations designated April 22nd as International Mother Earth Day. International Mother Earth Day provides an opportunity to raise public awareness around the world to the challenges regarding the well-being of the planet and all the life it supports.

Equinox Earth Day is celebrated on the March equinox (around March 20th) to mark the precise moment of astronomical mid-spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and of astronomical mid-autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. An equinox in astronomy is that moment in time (not a whole day) when the center of the Sun can be observed to be directly "above" the Earth's equator, occurring around March 20th and September 23rd each year. In most cultures, the equinoxes and solstices are considered to start or separate the seasons. John McConnell first introduced the idea of a global holiday called "Earth Day" at the 1969 UNESCO Conference on the Environment. The first Earth Day proclamation was issued by San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto on March 21, 1970. UN Secretary-General U Thant supported McConnell's global initiative to celebrate this annual event; and on February 26, 1971, he signed a proclamation to that effect.

The first Canadian Earth Day was held on Thursday, September 11, 1980, and was organized by Paul D. Tinari, then a graduate student in Engineering Physics/Solar Engineering at Queen's University.
Many of the issues with Earth Day relate directly to chemistry, such as greenhouse gas emission, anthropogenic carbon, oil spill clean-up and soil contamination from run-off. A spin off celebration is "Chemists celebrate Earth Day." The American Chemical Society (ACS) observes Earth Day with the Chemists Celebrate Earth Day (CCED) program. ACS offers a suite of events, contests and educational resources that can be used by ACS members, chemical educators, and chemistry enthusiasts to illustrate the positive role that chemistry plays in the world.
Results of Earth Day 1970: The first Earth Day had participants and celebrants in 2,000 colleges and universities, roughly 10,000 primary and secondary schools, and hundreds of communities across the United States. More importantly, it "brought 20 million Americans out into the spring sunshine for peaceful demonstrations in favor of environmental reform." Environmental groups have sought to make Earth Day into a day of action which changes human behavior and provokes policy changes.
Senator Nelson stated that Earth Day "worked" because of the response at the grassroots level. He directly credited the first Earth Day with persuading U.S. politicians that environmental legislation had a substantial, lasting constituency. The passage of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act are considered to be products associated with the 1970 Earth Day. During this period a great many new environmental laws were passed and some old ones resurrected and refurbished as well as energy legislation that impacted on the environment.
The agency, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was created in 1970. Other environmental type laws were enacted, such as the Coastal Zone Management Act (1972), the Marine Protection Research and Sanctuaries Act (1972), the Endangered Species Act (1973), the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (1976), the Marine Mammal Protection Act (1972), the Deepwater Ports and Waterways Safety Act (1974), the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (1974), the Water Resources Planning Act (1977), the Water Resources Research Act (1977), the Environmental Quality Improvement Act (1970), several amendments to the Food Drug and Cosmetics Act, and the Environmental Education Act. There was renewed enforcement of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899.
(Source: Wikipedia; photo credit: Unofficial Earth Day flag, by John McConnell: the Blue Marble on a blue field, Wikipedia; Gaylord Nelson, Wikipedia; Official Earth Week logo that was used as the backdrop for the prime time CBS News Special Report with Walter Cronkite about Earth Day 1970, Wikipedia; Denis Hayes, Wikipedia; Celebrating the adoption of International Mother Earth Day at United Nations Headquarters, Tonya Gonnella Frichner, Josephine Tarrant, Muriel Borst, and Roberto Borrero. (Photo: Miguel Ibanez, Habitat Pro),; John McConnell in front of his home in Denver, Colorado with the Earth Flag he designed., Wikipedia; Earth Day Canada logo, Wikipedia; Chemists celebrate Earth Day,; Dirty Water,; Dirty Air,; Clean Water,; Clean Air, Lardenbach, Hesse, DE (Germany), Nov. 2008, Fotopath,; Tourist at Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park, c. 1902, Source: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division;; Yosemite Valley in winter, Yosemite National Park, Photo by: QT Luong,,

Friday's celebrations

April 22nd has a bunch of celebrations to consider:
National Jelly Bean Day
Girl Scout Leader Appreciation Day
Earth Day (1970)
International Mother Earth Day (UN)
Chemists Celebrate Earth Day
2010 – Deepwater Horizon, an oil rig owned by BP and Transocean, sinks to the bottom of the Gulf Of Mexico after having a blowout two days earlier. The well then created the largest oil spill in U.S. history by constantly gushing oil through the damaged wellhead. People along the Gulf Coast are working to clean oil from the Gulf and stop the rig from leaking with support from BP
Orthodox Good Friday/Good Friday (11 states) (Friday before Easter Sunday)
Christian Feast Day: Acepsimas of Hnaita and companions (Catholic Church), Epipodius and Alexander
St. Alexander's Day
Discovery Day (Brazil)
Oklahoma Day (Oklahoma)

(Photo credits: Jelly Belly jelly beans,; Official Earth Week logo that was used as the backdrop for the prime time CBS News Special Report with Walter Cronkite about Earth Day 1970, Wikipedia; As of June 21, 2010, the area closed to fishing encompassed 86,985 square miles (225,290 km²), or about 36% of Gulf of Mexico federal waters, Wikipedia; Good Friday, Antonio Ciseri's depiction of Ecce Homo with Jesus and Pontius Pilate, 19th century, Wikipedia)