Earth Day was first launched in the United States in 1970 as an environmental awareness event. Earth Day as we know it is now celebrated as the birth of the environmental movement. Wisconsin Governor Gaylord Nelson and Harvard University student Denis Hayes spearheaded the movement, involving 20 million participants in teach-ins that addressed decades of environmental pollution. Their event inspired Congress to pass clean air and water acts, and to establish the Environmental Protection Agency to research and monitor environmental issues and enforce environmental laws.
2 million Canadians joined 200 million people in 141 nations in 1990 in celebrating the first International Earth Day. The global event put pressure of heads of state from many countries to take part in the UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro to address issues such as climate change, and the worldwide loss of species.
Come to the library tomorrow at 4:00 and check out our Recycled Bookend Contest for Teens! We're making our own bookends out of old, refurbished materials!
Learn more about Earth Day and the various ways to participate here: http://www.earthday.ca/pub/
Today is also Chemists Celebrate the Earth Day, Girl Scout Leaders Day, Mother Earth Day, and National Jelly Bean Day!
Here are some interesting things that happened on this day in history:
- King Charles II of England chartered the Royal Society of London in 1662, the oldest scientific organization in Britain.
- At the Battle of Ypres, Belgium in 1915, the Canadian 13th Battalion stood firm despite chlorine gas and shelling, until reserves were moved up on April 23. The French troops had broken and fled.
- Pierre Hétu, who conducted Canada's leading orchestras, was born in Montréal in 1936
- Sandra Birdsell, a writer whose fiction investigates the lives of small-town working-class figures, was born in Hamiota, Manitoba in 1942
- Lester Pearson was sworn in as Prime Minister in 1963
- The Liberals under W. Ross Thatcher won the Saskatchewan provincial election in 1964, displacing the CCF-NDP after 20 years.
- The Royal Commission on Corporate Concentration of power in Canada was appointed in 1975, with Robert Bryce as chairman.
- Parliament announced Canada would join the US-led boycott of the Moscow Olympics over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1980
- Lebanon released US hostage Robert Polhill after 39 months of captivity in 1990
- Holocaust Memorial Museum was dedicated in Washington, DC in 1993
- A lollipop weighing over 3000 pounds was made in Denmark in 1994
- Four Canadian soldiers were killed 75 kilometers north of Kandahar, Afghanistan by a roadside bomb in 2006
Stay tuned for our next, "On This Day in History"!