On April 22, you have the opportunity to join more than a billion people in 192 countries in a rare display of solidarity with the values of peace and environmental stewardship. Earth Day traces its origins to the 1970s, and there are two people who share credit for founding it. The first, Wisconsin senator Gaylord Nelson, was inspired by a 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara. 1969 was a time of mobilization for the anti-war movement, and Nelson hoped that a similar momentum could be captured for the environment. It was truly a different era—Republican congressman Pete McCloskey joined Nelson in the initiative.
The event today is organized by the Earth Day Network (earthday.org).
The second person who gets credit for Earth Day is visionary John McConnell, who proposed an Earth Day at the 1969 UNESCO conference in San Francisco. The city approved the idea, and McConnell went on to propose The Earth Day Proclamation in June of 1970.
Given the upwards trend of climate-related disasters, which have no end in sight, I suppose that every year could make the claim of “most important time for Earth Day.” Perhaps the 2013 Earth Day could be a response to Sandy, unprecedented North American and global drought, the 337th consecutive month with an average global temperature greater than the 20th-century average (since 1976), or the fact that the most recent 12 years rank in the top 14 of the hottest in the 133-year recording period. Earth Day is also about peace. Perhaps the U.S.-inflicted humanitarian disaster in Iraq could be a good reason to demonstrate solidarity. Or maybe you count yourself among the majority in this state who follow a prophet who preached stewardship and peace. Whatever motivates you, there are plenty of opportunities in Middle Tennessee to take part.
Earth Day will be celebrated in Murfreesboro on Saturday, April 27, on the Square from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The focus this year will be on butterflies, one of the many insects that continue to be affected as the fields in and around Murfreesboro are developed.
Rank of Hottest Years on Record
(Period of Record: 1880–2012)