Wednesday, May 22, 2013

May 22 - International Day for Biological Diversity

The United Nations proclaimed May 22nd to be the International Day for Biological Diversity, to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. When it was initially created by the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly in 1993, December 29th was chosen as the date for the annual event, in recognition of the date of entry into force of the Convention of Biological Diversity.

In December of 2000, the UN General Assembly adopted May 22nd as the new date, to commemorate the adoption of the text of the Convention on May 22, 1992 by the Nairobi Final Act of the Conference for the Adoption of the Agreed Text of the Convention on Biological Diversity (say that 10 times fast!). The change of date was partially decided by the fact that it was difficult for many countries to plan and carry out suitable celebrations for the 29th of December, given the number of holidays that coincide around the time of year.

The theme for the International Day for Biological Diversity changes every year. This year's theme is Water and Biodiversity.

Water and Biodiversity was changes to coincide with the United Nations designation of 2013 as the International Year of Water Cooperation. This provides Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity and the public at large the opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of preserving water, and our environment. No living being on Earth can survive without water.

Today is also Canadian Immigrants Day, National Maritime Day, and World Goth Day!

Here are some interesting things that happened on this day in history:

- The 14th recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet occurred in 760.
- The first Jesuits to arrive in New France, Pierre Biard and Ennemond Massé, arrived in Port-Royal on May 22, 1611.
- The cornerstone of Dalhousie University was laid in Halifax in 1820.

- The greatest known flood of the Red River in Manitoba destroyed the Red River Colony in 1826. The water crested on May 22, two and a half weeks after the flood began.
- In Verdun, Québec in 1838, lawyer Robert Sweeny shot and killed Maj Henry Warde, who had sent a love letter to Mrs. Sweeny, in the last fatal duel recorded in Canada.
- Farmers Lester Howe and Henry Wetsel discovered the Howe Caverns when they stumbled upon a large gaping hole in the ground in 1842.
- In 1867, a royal proclamation declared that the Dominion of Canada would come into existence on July 1.
- Leroy Buffington patented a system to build skyscrapers in 1888.

- Dr Washington Sheffield invented a toothpaste tube in 1892.
- The Wright Brothers patented an aeroplane in 1906.
- In 1919, the Parliament of Canada passed a resolution preventing Canadian citizens from receiving titles or honours from foreign governments.
- World Trade Day/National Maritime Day was 1st celebrated in 1933.
- The South Africa government approved race separation in universities in 1957.
- The 1st revolving restaurant, Top Of The Needle in Seattle, opened in 1961.

- The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced the introduction of 50% Canadian program content requirements for radio and television, effective in September 1970 for the CBC and September 1971 for the private sector.
- The Vancouver Canucks joined the NHL in 1970.

- Ontario Place opened on the Toronto lakeshore in 1971.

- The Canadian government suspended shipments of all nuclear equipment and materials to India in 1974, after India's detonation of a nuclear device.
- Rick Hansen arrived back in Vancouver in 1987 after his "Man In Motion" world tour in a wheelchair. The trip covered 40 000 km and raised $20 million for spinal cord research.

- Johnny Carson has his final appearance as host of the Tonight Show in 1992.
- Kelly Flinn, US Air Force's first female bomber pilot certified for combat, accepted a general discharge in order to avoid a court martial in 1997, after an adulterous affair with the husband of an enlisted subordinate.
- Catriona LeMay Doan, one of Canada's greatest Olympic athletes, announced that she was retiring from skating in 2003. She won two Olympic gold medals (500 metres) and a bronze (1000 metres), won several world championships and set numerous world records.

Stay tuned for our next, "On This Day in History"!

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