All over the world on March 20, at the initiative of the UN, Earth Day is celebrated. Moreover, there are two Earth Days in the calendar of international holidays – today is timed to coincide with the Day of the Spring Equinox, and the second – on April 22. The first one has a peacemaking and humanistic orientation, the second one is ecological.
The date March 20 was chosen and officially approved in 1971 by the United Nations for Earth Day precisely because this time falls on the vernal equinox, when the biological rhythm of the planet changes, and it enters a new round of its development, when nature awakens and is renewed. The UN appeal says: “Earth Day is a special time, which is intended to draw the attention of all people to the awareness of planet Earth as their common home, to feel our all-terrestrial community and mutual dependence on each other.”
The founder of this Day is considered to be the famous American public figure John Morton, who in the 1840s launched a campaign to plant trees and shrubs, as part of a program of respect for the environment of every citizen of the country. After becoming secretary of the Nebraska Territory, in 1872, he proposed establishing a day that would be dedicated to landscaping. This is how the Day of the Tree was born, which immediately became very popular.
During the first Day, residents of the state planted about a million trees, and soon their initiative grew into a social movement. Starting in 1970, the meaning of the holiday expanded to the general idea of environmental protection, and a new name appeared – Earth Day, which became nationwide. In 1971, the UN officially adopted this holiday, and subsequently it became worldwide, each year receiving more and more international support.
Today Earth Day is a worldwide movement of civil initiatives to protect the planet as a common global Home, uniting many different events and actions, both environmental and ecological, as well as peacekeeping. This is not so much a holiday as an occasion to once again think about the problems of a fragile and vulnerable environment, the problems of relationships between man and the world around him.
Among the most popular events in the field of environmental protection and improvement, held on this day in different parts of the world, are environmental exhibitions and festivals, marathons and conferences about nature, cleaning streets and territories in cities, planting trees and stopping traffic on busy streets. major cities, cultural events and concerts …
It is also worth noting that, according to the established tradition, annually within the framework of Earth Day in the overwhelming majority of countries it is certainly customary to ring the Peace Bell within one minute, which is a symbol of peaceful life, friendship and solidarity of all peoples, and a call to action in the name of preserving culture and the best achievements of mankind. The meaning of this ceremony is that during this minute, people think about how to save the planet, how to improve life on it, to feel like inhabitants and a part of the Earth.
The first Peace Bell was cast in 1954 to commemorate the tragedy of nuclear-bombed Japanese cities and installed at the UN headquarters in New York. It is cast from coins collected by children of all continents, orders and medals, other honorary signs of people from many countries are also melted into it. The inscription on the Bell reads: “Long live universal peace throughout the world.” Then similar bells began to be installed in other countries – Japan (1954), Germany, Poland, Turkey (1989), Mexico (1990), Australia (1992), Mongolia (1993), Canada (1996), Brazil (1997), Russia , Argentina (1998), Ecuador (1999), Uzbekistan (2003) and other countries.
Earth Day also has its own flag depicting one of the first photographs of our planet from Space. This is a sign of the realization that only through joint efforts can we solve global environmental and social problems on Earth. Therefore, it is no coincidence that this holiday is actively supported by cosmonauts. After all, they were the first to tell the world about how beautiful and defenseless our planet is, and how it needs the caring attitude of all of us.