Earth days, Earth week or a whole month!

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Earth days, Earth week or a whole month!

by: Tetsuo Nakahara | .
Stripes Okinawa | .
published: April 16, 2013

Global warming, overpopulation and food crisis are just a few of the issues our planet faces today. And Earth Day is a time set aside to raise people’s environmental awareness and “earth consciousness.” 

Events abound the world around to celebrate Earth Day throughout April. In the Pacific, they range from cleanups to keep the beaches of Guam and Okinawa pristine to a Tokyo gathering that draws tens of thousands of eco-friendly urbanites annually.

Such events allow us time out of our busy lives to think about the Earth – to act locally on behalf of the entire planet. They also offer a chance to spend a day with family and friends participating in springtime events outdoors. But how did it all begin?

There are actually two Earth days as well as an “Earth week.” While some people celebrate Earth Day around the time of the Spring Equinox in March, others observe it on April 22 each year. Earth Week starts April 16, culminating in the main event six days later.

The first Earth Day was the brainchild of John McConnell, a newspaper publisher and influential community activist. It took place March 20, 1970, the vernal equinox that year. McConnell proposed the concept of Earth Day at a UNESCO Conference on the Environment in San Francisco in 1969. The proposal was put forth as an annual observation to raise awareness for a wide range of environmental issues.

McConnell believed that Earth Day should be a time of equilibrium, when people put aside their differences and recognize a common need to preserve Earth’s resources. He believed the vernal equinox (March 20 or 21) best symbolized this since it was the time of year when the length of night and day align throughout the entire planet.

On Feb. 26, 1971, United Nation Secretary-General U Thant signed a proclamation saying that the U. N. would celebrate Earth Day annually on the vernal equinox, thereby officially establishing the March date as an international Earth Day. However, plans for a U.S. national Earth Day had already been set in motion.

Sen. Gaylord Nelson organized Earth Day as an environmental teach-in on April 22, 1970. The event drew large public support to raise awareness of environmental issues among politicians. In 1990, the movement went international with more than 140 nations participating today.

Inspired by Nelson’s Earth Day, Earth Week was started in Philadelphia in 1970 by committee of students, professionals and businessmen to raise environmental awareness. Today, many celebrate a full week of activities leading up to Earth Day. But why stop at a week?

Check around on and off base and you’ll find Earth-friendly events throughout the month of April and beyond.

Earth ‘Day’ events

Kadena Air Base

  • Project Hope: Sunabe sea wall cleanup at Sunabe from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. April 21.
  • Family Fun Day: Learn how to make recycled paper while enjoying quality family time at Schilling Community Center from 2 – 4 p.m. April 22.
  • Movie on the Lawn: “The Lorax” in celebration of Earth Week; April 26, 6:30 p.m. at Kadena Gate 2 USO lawn (free).
  • Reusable Bag Giveaway: Every customer will automatically have his or her purchases bagged in one of this year’s Earth Week Reusable Bags. The bags are BIG, made of recycled materials, and are recyclable! Limit one per customer while supplies last at Kadena BX and commissary.

Camp Foster

  • MCCS Typhoon Motors Earth Day Special: Free 15-minute vehicle check. Get under the hood with a technician and get some economical and “green” tips on how to take care of your vehicle and the environment. April 1-30

Sunabe Seawall

  • Join MCCS Tsunami SCUBA and Project AWARE as they clean up the Sunabe Seawall, both above and beneath the waves. on April 21,  9 a.m to 3 p.m. To sign up, call DSN 645-4206 or 098-970-4206 from off-base/cell or visit mccsokinawa.com/scuba

Naha City

  • Earth Day Okinawa 2013 will be held April 21at Ukishima Garden. There will be vegetable market, earth friendly food booths, live music and workshops and talk show regarding environment. For more information, visit ukishima-garden.com/main