HappyEarthDay

Growing eco-activism before Earth Day 1970

In 1968, Morton Hilbert and the U.S. Public Health Service organized the Human Ecology Symposium, an environmental conference for students to hear from scientists about the effects of environmental degradation on human health.This was the beginning of Earth Day. For the next two years, Hilbert and students worked to plan the first Earth Day.In April 1970—along with a federal proclamation from U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson—the first Earth Day was held.

Project Survival, an early environmentalism-awareness education event, was held at Northwestern University on January 23, 1970. This was the first of several events held at university campuses across the United States in the lead-up to the first Earth Day. Also, Ralph Nader began talking about the importance of ecology in 1970.

 

Significance of April 22

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.

Unbeknownst to Nelson, April 22, 1970, was coincidentally the 100th anniversary of the birth of Vladimir Lenin.

Time reported that some suspected the date was not a coincidence, but a clue that the event was “a Communist trick”, and quoted a member of theDaughters of the American Revolution as saying, “subversive elements plan to make American children live in an environment that is good for them.”

J. Edgar Hoover, director of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, may have found the Lenin connection intriguing; it was alleged the FBI conducted surveillance at the 1970 demonstrations. The idea that the date was chosen to celebrate Lenin’s centenary still persists in some quarters, an idea borne out by the similarity with the subbotnik instituted by Lenin in 1920 as days on which people would have to do community service, which typically consisted in removing rubbish from public property and collecting recyclable material. Subbotniks were also imposed on other countries within the compass of Soviet power, including Eastern Europe, and at the height of its power the Soviet Union established a nation-wide subbotnik to be celebrated on Lenin’s birthday, April 22, which had been proclaimed a national holiday celebrating communism by Nikita Khrushchev in 1955.


Earth Day anthem

Lyrics for the Earth Day Anthem set to “Ode to Joy”:-

Joyful joyful we adore our Earth in all its wonderment
Simple gifts of nature that all join into a paradise
Now we must resolve to protect her
Show her our love throughout all time
With our gentle hand and touch
We make our home a newborn world
Now we must resolve to protect her
Show her our love throughout all time
With our gentle hand and touch
We make our home a newborn world