Back in April 1970 – in the midst of the political, societal, and environmental reevaluation of our national priorities called “The 60’s” Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-WI) thought it would be a good idea to pause for a moment and honor this thing that makes all else possible – the earth we live on; conveniently armed with the ultimate branding image – a sparkling-clear photograph of our very own planet taken just 14 months earlier from the surface of the moon.
There was a philosophical discussion going around at the time as to whether being able to visualize the entire earth would invoke awe at its beauty, compelling us to be more caring of this little spaceship upon which we all dwell, or would seeing the entire planet in one frame somehow diminish the awe we feel when we gaze up into the infinite night sky reminding us of how small we really are?
Whether seeing that photograph for the first time enhanced or diminished one’s awe at where we live, it nonetheless signaled a shift in consciousness that made the idea of “Earth Day” possible. Humans and their enterprises could more easily be framed in a global context. We began to understand that artifacts from our industry could foul the global atmosphere; over-harvesting from the earth’s abundant forests and bounteous seas could disrupt the fabric of nature’s fecundity; noises could be made in the ocean that could be heard around the world.
It was the realization of how disruptive our species could be that inspired the founding of “Earth Day;” a day to pause in gratitude; to remember to be a bit less reckless – or even turn around and clean up after ourselves.
May this Earth Day be so memorable for you that you can carry these expressions of gratitude with you throughout the year.