August 4,1998

Strange as it may seem, probably the most damaging misstatement by the President was his proclaiming that April 22 is Earth Day.

The damage can be illustrated by what happened in April, 1998. Hundreds of children called the Earth Day 800 number – the toll free number for the authentic Earth Day, which was initiated in 1970 on March 21, the first day of Spring.

They were calling because Nickelodeon Magazine and McDonald’s Restaurants were promoting “Big Help” during an April “Earth Week.” Nickelodeon had articles and McDonald’s had posters across the country saying Earth Day is April 22 and asking children to help planet Earth by calling the Earth Day number.

Had McDonalds or Nickelodeon called the number before they used it – or accessed the Earth Day web site they cited:, they would have discovered that April 22 is a spurious Earth Day.

McDonald’s head of environment said he assumed April 22 was Earth Day because President Clinton had said it was.

The original Earth Day used a natural event – the first day of Spring – to inaugurate a day for planet Earth whose special qualities and history would inspire and encourage a new future of health and peace for people and planet. Spring is the symbol of new life and new beginnings. Also, on this day we have the equinox – nature’s moment of equipoise when the Sun crosses the equator (the date when night and day are equal all over the world),the perfect time to affirm harmony with neighbor and nature.

The real Earth Day gave birth to the Earth Trustee idea and agenda – “Let individuals and institutions now think and act as Trustees of Earth, seeking choices in ecology, economics and ethics that will eliminate pollution, poverty and violence.”

The power of the President, backing April 22 as Earth Day, has undermined the true Earth Day. He has claimed it was the first Earth Day and completely ignored the real Earth Day.

It is well documented that March 21 was proclaimed Earth Day by the City of San Francisco before Gaylord Nelson ever used the word (in any documented record). It was after the San Francisco Earth Day Proclamation that Senator Nelson changed the name of his “Teach-In” to Earth Day.

The UN Peace Bell Ceremony on the March Equinox – the authentic Earth Day— has continued each year and played a major role in peaceful resolution of conflict in the mid-east and in Asia. When leaders from countries in conflict joined at the Peace Bell for nature’s moment of equipoise, attitudes changed and peaceful progress ensued.

This was true of the USSR and USA, Pakistan and India, Israel and Palestine. Earth Day efforts resulted in key representatives from countries in conflict coming together to ring the Peace Bell and join at the moment of the Equinox in silent prayer or reflection with a heartfelt commitment to peace and the care of Earth.

Had the constant confusion caused by the April 22 Earth Day not existed, by now, the real Earth Day could have so increased global awareness and Earth Trustee actions that the human family would be well on its way to a peaceful, prosperous future.

On the April 22 “Earth Day” (1998), President Clinton and Vice President Gore did a wonderful job of extolling the efforts to restore the environment at the Appalachian Trail. There should be a positive way to complement each others efforts. Had they called it “Arbor Day,” a designation of April 22 many years ago, it would not have again undermined Earth Day.

Surely a look at the facts will persuade the President to set the record straight and go all out to help realize the potential of the authentic Earth Day. The global attention he could bring would result in a new global harmony and commitment to peaceful rejuvenation of our planet. The whole world would join in heartfelt silent prayer when we ring the United Nation’s Peace Bell on nature’s amazing March Equinox.


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