Earth Day is celebrated in more than 192 countries and by more than one billion people each year. While the United States designates April 22 as the official date, due to a Congressional proposal in 1970 from Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin, the real origin of Earth Day is a 1969 proposal delivered in San Francisco.
UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. At a 1969 UNESCO conference in the City, peace activist John McConnell proposed an “Earth Day…to celebrate Earth’s life and beauty and to alert earthlings to the need for preserving and renewing the threatened ecological balances upon which all life on Earth depends.” (http://www.earthsite.org/john.htm).
In September of 1969, McConnell made the Earth Day proposal to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. That was followed by an Earth Day Proclamation from then Mayor Joseph Alioto. The first official Earth Day in the world was proclaimed in the City for the spring equinox, March 21, 1970. The United Nations later ratified the Earth Day Proclamation with a signature from the Secretary General joined by other concerned world leaders.
Here is McConnell, speaking 40 years later in 2009, promoting the continuation of his Earth Day:
San Franciscans are still honoring the environment using more modern methods. The City and County of San Francisco has a Public Works Department that is committed to a strategic plan that, “guides us in greening the city’s infrastructure and our business practices and includes energy use reduction; water conservation; waste reduction; ensuring that all Public Works designed, managed, maintained and construction projects strive to meet LEED Gold standards; and greenhouse gas reduction.” (http://sfdpw.org/index.aspx?page=28 ) Sometimes those modern methods include having a little fun:
Let’s make every day Earth Day!