Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy Earth Day!

Good morning all! Today is Earth Day so I thought I'd share some trivia about the date. Enjoy!

First: The Lyrid meteor shower began April 16, 2013 with a peak period before dawn April 22 today. The Lyrid meteor shower lasts from about April 16 to 25, so, anytime now, you have an opportunity to see a Lyrid meteor, April’s shooting stars. Lyrid meteors tend to be bright and often leave trails. You need to spot them in the early pre-dawn hours though since the moon's light will tend to 'drown' them out.

Moving on: Earth Day first began on April 22, 1970, when 20 million people across the United States participated in rallies celebrating nature and decrying activities that put it at risk.

Sen. Gaylord Nelson, a Democrat from Wisconsin, came up with the idea for Earth Day in 1969. Inspired by the anti-Vietnam War "teach-ins" that took place at college campuses all over the nation, Nelson envisioned a large-scale environmental demonstration that would catch the attention of the federal government.

Earth Day had an immediate impact. By the end of the year, the United States saw some of its first major political efforts to protect the environment, including the founding of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The first Earth Day also changed public attitudes. According to the EPA, "Public opinion polls indicate that a permanent change in national priorities followed Earth Day 1970. When polled in May 1971, 25 percent of the U.S. public declared protecting the environment to be an important goal, a 2,500 percent increase over 1969."

Among people who oppose environmental action, a rumor has spread that April 22 was chosen because it's the birthday of Vladimir Lenin, the founder of the Soviet Union. In reality, the date was chosen in 1970 simply because it fell on a Wednesday, when organizers believed that many people would be able to get out of work to participate.

The Earth Day Network works with hundreds of thousands of schools around the globe, helping to integrate environmental themes into the curriculum to ensure that Earth Day has a year-round, lasting impact.

"The earth is what we all have in common." - Wendell Berry.

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