Friday, April 22, 2005

Earth Day 2005: Saving Planet Earth

BY the 1960s, evidence of environ-mental degradation – mountains of garbage, fishkills, polluted waters, etc. – had started to catch the attention of various individuals and organizations. Concern with the need to protect and preserve the environment grew.

Two men figured in making Earth Day a yearly global celebration. In the United States, Senator Gaylor Nelson in 1962 called the nation’s attention to the worsening degradation of the environment in the US. He noted that the environmental issue was absent on the nation’s political agenda. The political leaders were not concerned. Through his efforts, he organized and successfully held the first Earth Day celebration in the US on April 22, 1970.

Mr. John McConnel was the other person in the Earth Day movement. In the 1969 National UNESCO Conference in San Francisco, he proposed an Earth Day to "celebrate Earth’s Life and beauty and to alert earthlings to the need for preserving and renewing the threatened ecological balance upon which all life on Earth depends."

They attracted United Nations Secretary General U Thant’s support. On February 26, 1971, Secretary General U Thant signed a proclamation for the annual celebration of Earth Day beginning March 21, 1971. The proclamation called everybody’s attention that Planet Earth is endangered, that only the people of Earth can stave off further disaster and that the delicate balances of nature is their responsibility. In succeeding Earth Day celebrations, the energies of industry and society were redirected from progress through products to progress through harmony with Earth’s natural systems for improving the quality of life for all living things.

Planet Earth can be saved and preserved. But this requires the enthusiastic participation and cooperation of all – the rich and powerful with the poor and disinherited people, big and small nations, industrialized and developing nations, all contributing their share of the responsibility of making Planet Earth not only habitable but livable for generations to come.

Let us all preserve Planet Earth. It is the only planet we have in the universe

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