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Mother Earth Day Mother Earth Day
by The Ovi Team
2023-04-22 05:37:33
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earthEarth Day is a day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's environment. It was founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in held on April 22, 1970 and is celebrated in more than 175 countries every year. Earth Day is celebrated in spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. Many communities celebrate Earth Week, an entire week of activities focused on environmental issues. While the first Earth Day was focused entirely on the United States, an organization launched by Denis Hayes—the original national coordinator in 1970—took it international in 1990 and organized events in 141 nations. Earth Day is now observed each year on April 22 in virtually every country on Earth. Earth Day is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network. World Environment Day, celebrated on June 5 in a different nation every year, is the principal United Nations environmental observance.

U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin announced his idea for a nationwide teach-in day on the environment in a speech to a fledgling conservation group in Seattle on 20 September 1969, and then again six days later in Atlantic City to a meeting of the United Auto Workers. Senator Nelson hoped that a grassroots outcry about environmental issues might prove to Washington, D.C. just how distressed Americans were in every constituency. When grassroots activities ballooned beyond the capacity of his Senate office staff, Nelson staffed a temporary office with college students and appointed Denis Hayes as coordinator of activities, but it soon became clear that Earth Day was a full-blown movement. There were autonomous groups organizing in cities large and small including New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Minneapolis, Des Moines, Albuquerque, and many more. Nelson and his staff did not have the time nor resources to organize the estimated 20 million demonstrators and thousands of schools and local communities that participated.
Media coverage of the first Earth Day included a 1-hour special report on CBS News called "Earth Day: A Question of Survival," with correspondents reporting from a dozen major cities across the country, and narrated by Walter Cronkite (whose backdrop was the Earth Week of Philadelphia's logo). The largest segment of the special report (1/3 of the hour-long program) focused on Earth Week in Philadelphia.


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Emanuel Paparella2010-04-22 13:05:44
Once Man had arrived to the moon and seen a picture of our common home from that vantage point it became inevitable that the earth would be seen as our common mother and we would celebrate that fact once a year, which is all well and good, but such a celebration is reminiscent of those ungrateful unimaginative children who need to see a picture of their mother to remember that they have one and she is around 365 day a year not just for the celebration of her birthday once a year. A similar attitude is exhibited in other events that we dutifully commemorate by the calendar once a year in our brave new world. Take the one toward the Holocaust for example: we commemorate it once a year, build monuments and museums and then misremember it, by which Tony Judt means that all that loud commemoration, aside from serving the purpose of relieving our bad conscience and sense of responsibility once a year, in reality provides no enduring lessons; the proof of that is that other genocides have been carried out with impunity; one thinks of Rwanda, Thailand, and the one right in the backyard of the EU who had to be induced kicking and screaming to stop it by declaring war on Serbia in 2000. The same travesty, I am afraid, applies to earth day: we commemorate and celebrate for one day and then go our merry way and continue the pollution and the disrespectful attitude toward our mother for the rest of the year.
And yet there have been thoughtful men who, from time immemorial, have reflected on our common home and mother and our duty of stewardship toward it. Three jump to mind and two of those are medieval men: St. Francis of Assisi who called everything in nature brother and sister and wrote a poem about it titled “The Canticle of Creatures”; Dante who via imagination sees mother earth from the moon and exclaims that “I saw that flower bed that makes us such savages”; and Theilard de Chardin from the 20th century who wrote a wonderful poem titled “Building the Earth” where he emphasizes the fact that man is now in charge of his own evolutionary destiny and if he kills his own mother earth (like emperor Nero who literally killed his mother), he is doomed not only to infamy but eventual extinction. There would be plenty of food for thought there, even without the hoop- la- la of celebrations of earth day.

Emanuel Paparella2010-04-22 23:41:48
P.S. If I may be allowed a brief postscript on my comment on the subject of Earth Day, for those readers who have caught the spirit of what I attempt to articulate, open to the above link to the Global Spiral (the publishing section of the Metanexus Institute) and read today’s reflection on earth day (scroll down to the middle after the comments on Shakespeare) by Dr. V.V. Raman who echoes what I say but in a more cogent and eloquent mode. He reflects on the fact that ultimately in our cavalier hubris “all we can do is destroy ourselves, not the earth” and on the dire need to think in planetary terms as a human family. I love his conclusion: “Each week we devote a day to a planet, but once a year we have an Earth Day. We need to treat every day as Earth Day.”

Emanuel Paparella2013-04-22 10:28:05
That was written three years ago. I would now add that intriguingly St. Francis of Assisi in praising Mother Earth places the word sister before it so it reads “Sister Mother Earth” which may seem like a contradiction for one cannot be both a mother and sister to the same person in the biological world but it is theologically correct. St. Francis is making sure that we do not make the mistake of thinking of Mother Earth as goddess of sort to be worshipped with all the other pagan gods, thus ending up with idolatry or pantheism. The real mother is the maker, a personal providential Mother or Father as one prefers, since God as a spirit has no gender and is neither a chauvinist nor a feminist.

Leah Sellers2013-04-23 06:38:37
When Teaching high school, I used to take a group of volunteer students down to Lady Bird Lake to help with a weekend clean-up of the Lake's Human garbage and debris for extra credit.
Earth Day/Clean-up Day, always wound up being a wonderful day of comaraderie with Other like-minded Folks from around the Austin area, and terrific Exercise and Revelation.
Having to pick up the Garbage We Humans can create, and then dump upon Our Natural Environment can be a very Teachable Moment loaded with new much needed Awarenesses, and Learned Appreciations. These Lessons Need to be perpetuated Generationally.

Emanuel Paparella2017-04-22 13:55:09
To update the reflections and assess the progress (or regress as the case may be) a bit, four years later, while the celebrations and the lip service and the reminders still go on, not only has not the dumped garbage not subsided, but the moral garbage and sheer contempt for science has substantially increased so that now we have a president who does away with regulations to prevent global warming, because those make the reaping of profits and economic development more difficult, after all, everything is a deal on this earth...

With that kind of mind-set, we will end up reaping what we are currently sowing: destruction and the whirlwind. What an outrage.

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