John McConnell    

Date of Birth: March 22, 1915
Birthplace: Davis City, Iowa

Now published --
John McConnell's autobiography

Earth Day:
Peace, Justice, and Earth Care
My Life and Thought at Age 96

Wipf and Stock, Eugene OR
2011    594 pp

Son of an independent evangelist, John McConnell was born in Davis City, Iowa on March 22, 1915. His interest in religion, science, and peace has resulted in a number of projects and personal efforts to relieve human suffering and promote the common good. His interest has been in understanding human potentials and in seeking solutions to the crucial problems facing civilization.


In 1939 John McConnell met Albert Nobell (no relation to Albert Nobel), a chemist with whom he founded the Nobell Research Foundation in Los Angeles. Mr. McConnell served as Vice-President and business manager of the foundation. Their laboratory developed a thermosetting plastic, and designed the first plastic plant on the West Coast for its manufacture. Thinking about conservation of nature led to development of a plastic using walnut shells. Through other research in the laboratory, seeking uses for waste products, Mr. McConnell's concern for ecology grew.

WORLD WAR ll - 1943

During World War ll, Mr. McConnell took the position that prayer and love could be more powerful than bombs, and he conducted services aboard Merchant Marine vessels, on which he worked as a seaman. After World War ll and an educational-missionary effort in Honduras, Mr. McConnell worked briefly as Registrar at Lincoln Law School in San Francisco, California, and as a representative of the American Correspondence School.


Mr. McConnell and Erling Toness, an editor in North Carolina, published a weekly newspaper, the Toe Valley View. Life Magazine carried a feature story, "Trouble in the Toe Valley," about their efforts against local violence and corruption. On October 31, 1957 (right after the first Sputnik), Mr. McConnell wrote an editorial entitled, "Make Our Satellite A Symbol Of Hope," calling for peaceful cooperation in the exploration of Space with a visible "Star of Hope" Satellite. This editorial was picked up by the wire services and reprinted in hundreds of newspapers. Mr. McConnell appeared on the Arline Francis Show, the Today Show and other TV Network programs. This led Mr. McConnell to form a Star of Hope organization to foster International Cooperation in Space. In pursuit of this goal, Mr. McConnell in 1958 obtained support in Geneva of the President of the Atoms for Peace Conference and other leaders, including Dr. Glen Seaborg of the United States and Professor A. P. Alexandrov of the U.S.S.R.

In 1959, Mr. McConnell moved to California where he and his co-publisher, Erling Toness, founded the "Mountain View." An editorial in this weekly paper (April 19, 1961) urging a joint venture in Space with American Astronauts and Soviet Cosmonauts was circulated in the White House, and given to Soviet officials. President Kennedy supported the idea, and later President Nixon obtained agreement for a joint venture.


As Northern California Director of "Meals for Millions." John McConnell formulated and organized a successful campaign in San Francisco to feed thousands of Hong Kong refugees.


For seven years after the Meals for Millions campaign, Mr. McConnell worked on a "Minute For Peace" program. This began with his obtaining global attention and participation in a Minute For Peace broadcast, which on December 22, 1963, ended the period of mourning for President Kennedy.

On June 26, 1965, the 20th anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Charter, Secretary General U Thant spoke for Minute For Peace on world-wide radio. At that time, Mr. McConnell spoke at the National Education Association Convention in Madison Square Garden where the participants joined in a silent "Minute For Peace." Later, in the conversations with NEA officials, he urged silent prayer in schools.


In 1968, Mr. McConnell incorporated "World Equality" to foster the idea of equilibrium in nature and human society. He began circulating his "Planetary Inheritance." The Earth Flag, designed by him after seeing the first photo of Earth in Life Magazine, was featured in the "Whole Earth Catalogue" and is being used, here and there around the world, to show support of efforts to help people and planet. In 1975 the Earth Flag was flown at the South Pole. The Earth Flag is a part of the Earth Day Ceremony each year at the United Nations and is still being produced and used.


In working to elevate individual and international support for stewardship of Earth, at the 1969 National UNESCO Conference in San Francisco, Mr. 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.

In September of 1969, Mr. McConnell proposed Earth Day to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. The proposal won strong support and was followed by an Earth Day Proclamation by the City of San Francisco. The idea, supported by U. N. Secretary General U Thant, Margaret Mead and many others, spread worldwide. The ringing of the United Nations Peace Bell at the moment of the March Equinox on Earth Day has become a tradition.

On his return to New York, John McConnell wrote an Earth Day Proclamation for worldwide use. It incorporated rights and responsibilities of Earth's people in the care of their planet. It was signed by U. N. Secretary General U Thant, Margaret Mead, John Gardner and other concerned world leaders. Since then, others have added their signatures to show support for its objectives. (Current total: 39) Most recent signatures are those of Yasir Arafat, Yehudi Menuhin and Cosmonaut Anatoli Berezevoi, leaving space for one more signature.

Mr. McConnell instigated and was co-producer of a WOR-TV 12 Hour Special, called E-Day '72. Carried whole or in part by over 60 stations, the program was an extensive study of environment, featuring national and international ecology experts, and won many awards. At that time Mr. McConnell started using the term "Earth Trustee" to define people who were seeking to make choices in their daily life that would benefit nature and society.


Formed by John McConnell while attending the 1973 UNEP Conference in Geneva, the Earth Society sought to make the care of Earth, humanity's first objective, aiding this purpose through Earth Day, Earth Rights, Sea Citizens, and silent prayer or meditation.

Also, in 1973 Dr. Margaret Mead wrote an Earth Day Essay, featured by International News Service.

In 1976, with Margaret Mead and Frank Braynard of the U. S. Bicentenial "Operation Sail," McConnell formed the Earth Society Foundation, which later obtained 33 Nobel Laureates as Sponsors.

EARTH RIGHTS - 1974 (Planetary Inheritance - written in 1969)

In 1974, Mr. McConnell personally discussed his Earth Right proposals with Sheik Yamani of Saudi Arabia, and other leading delegates at the United Nations Raw Materials Conference. In an address at the United Nations Church Center on "Earth's Resurrection" he stated, "Underlying property rights and sovereignty rights is the fundamental right of every person on Earth to an equal share in Earth's raw materials and natural resources."


To foster Earth Care and Earth Right principles dealing with the Sea, Mr. McConnell organized a "Sea Citizen" program advocating protection and equal shares in the bounty of the sea. The organizing committee, headed by John McConnell, included United Nations Ambassador Dr.

Arvid Pardo of Malta, Senator Mark Hatfield of Oregon and Frank O. Braynard, Founder of Operation Sail. To obtain support, McConnell attended the Geneva "Law of the Sea." Conference.


This document, written by John McConnell, was featured in a large sized illustrated poster. The poster was circulated and used by many at the United Nations.


Met with Secretary of State Cyrus Vance to discuss the hostage crisis. Traveled to Iran, met with Mr Gamaroodi, Assistant to the President of Iran, to discuss release.

77 THESES - 1985

In 1985, Mr McConnell's "75 Theses on the Care of Earth" was published. About a year later 2 Theses were added and now "77 Theses" can be seen at Mr. McConnell's web site:

EARTH MAGNA CHARTA - February, 1995

Mr. McConnell wrote the Earth Magna Charta, in which he sought to incorporate the goals and policies needed for "peace, justice and the care of Earth."

This document emerged from his previous efforts, experiences and thinking.
It describes the actions needed
and how they can be achieved by an Earth Trustee Formula:
"Let every individual and institution now think and act as a responsible trustee of Earth, seeking choices in ecology, economics and ethics that will provide a sustainable future, eliminate pollution, poverty and violence, awaken the wonder of life and foster peaceful progress in the human adventure."


Earth Trustees, Inc. 4924 E. Kentucky Circle, Denver, CO 80246

Let us know who you are and become an Earth Trustee. Register as an Earth Trustee .

Send us your comments and suggestions by email.

Contributions to help our effort can be made out to "Earth Trustees, Inc." and sent to:

John McConnell, 4924 E. Kentucky Circle, Denver, CO 80246