|Earth Day is the name used with respect to various activities, conducted during spring and intended to inspire people to be more attentive to the fragile and vulnerable environment on the planet “Earth”. Earth Day is a civil initiative and is open for joining by any people, groups or organizations. There are two main observances of Earth Day: in March (near the spring equinox) and on the 22nd April. Also, currently, many common participants and initiative groups plan and conduct a series of activities in regard to Earth Day during the summer solstice so as to utilize the warm weather and free time of people to the maximum.
Earth Day — Equinox
Initially, Earth Day was celebrated in many countries on the day of the spring equinox to celebrate the onset of spring (Northern hemisphere) or autumn (Southern hemisphere). The United Nations celebrate Earth Day usually on the 21st March. On February 26, 1971, U Thant, Secretary-General of the UN signed a special proclamation, dedicated to this event. Every year, the peace bell was sounded on the 21st of March in the United Nations headquarters in New York.
Earth Day — 22nd April
In the USA, the first "single-mission” celebration took place on this day in 1970. Its stupendous success inspired organizers and since then, the celebration became a regular event. Popular American politician and activist senator Gaylord Nelson created a group of students under the guidance of Denis Hayes (a student of Harvard University). Since it was the time of active student movements, the initiative got a lot of attention.
In spite of the fact that the senator and his "staff" had neither time, nor resources to actually organize mass activities, they occurred (as, for example, the 20-million demonstration and participation of hundreds of schools in the celebrations). As Gaylord Nelson said “Earth Day was organized by Earth itself”.
In 1971, thanks to the success of the first Day, the senator Nelson proclaimed “Earth Week” (during the 3rd week of April) as an annual event, which became extremely popular among the population of the USA.
In the USA, in the wake of public and political activities awakened by Earth Day, many laws and acts, pertaining to environmental preservation (for example, the popular Clean Air Act) were passed.
Unfortunately, even now, politicians in the majority of the countries ignore Earth Day, without realizing the fact of how useful it would be as a world scale event in changing the relation of people to the planet and the environment.
The Earth Flag is not an official symbol (since a single-planet government or state does not exist). It is a photograph of the planet from space (the picture taken by the astronauts of Apollo-17 on the way to Moon is being used currently) on a dark blue background. Traditionally, the Flag is linked with Earth Day and many other nature-protecting, peace-making and civil and international activities.
The symbol of the Day is the green Greek letter Θ on a white background.
The peace bell on Earth Day:
The opening ceremony of the "Peace Bell on Earth Day" in the International Museum of N. K. Rerikh on the 20th March, 2008. Traditionally, the Peace bell is sounded on Earth Day in different countries, urging the people of Earth to feel single-planet solidarity and make efforts towards the protection of peace on the planet and towards the preservation of beauty of our common house. The Peace bell is a symbol of calmness, peace life and friendship, eternal brotherhood and the solidarity of the people. And at the same time, it is an appeal to action for the sake of the preservation of peace and life on Earth, and the preservation of human beings and culture.