Earth Day~  

dandelion60540 106F
79 posts
4/20/2006 9:24 pm

Last Read:
5/5/2006 9:49 pm

Earth Day~


History and Origin of Arbor Day
In the 1840s, the mid-western state of Nebraska was a territory within a wide prairie. When pioneers moved out to settle there, they found few trees to build houses or to burn for fuel. There was no shade from the sun or wind, and crops did not grow well in the dry earth.

J Sterling Morton was one of those pioneers who moved to the treeless Nebraska territory. He and his wife planted trees immediately after moving from their home town of Detroit, Michigan. Morton was a journalist, and later the editor, for Nebraska's first newspaper. In his writings he advocated planting trees to help life on this vast barren plain.

He became the secretary of the Nebraska Territory. At a meeting of the State Board of Agriculture in January 1872, Morton proposed that citizens of the new state of Nebraska set aside April 10 as a day to plant trees. He suggested offering prizes as incentives for communities and organization that planted the most trees properly. Everyone welcomed the idea enthusiastically. Nebraskans planted about one million trees on that first Arbor Day. Today a visitor to Nebraska would never guess that it was once a dusty prairie.

In 1882, Nebraska declared its own Arbor Day as a legal holiday and the date was changed to Morton's birthday, April 22. Today almost every state celebrates an Arbor day but because the best tree-planting season changes from region to region, some states observe the day on different dates. Hawaiians, for example, plant Arbor Day trees on the first Friday in November!

"Arbor Day which has already transplanted itself to every state in the American Union and has even been adopted in foreign lands... is not like other holidays. Each of those reposes on the past, while Arbor Day proposes for the future." ~ J. Sterling Morton

Earth Day

On April 22, 1970, Arbor Day activities were modified to emphasize the critical importance of the environment and to make the American public aware of the destruction of the earth's natural preserves. This day, Earth Day, was observed by twenty million Americans, most of them students. The sponsors of Earth Day hoped to start an environmental movement that would alter industrial practices and human consumption.

Twenty years later in 1990, Earth Day was observed once again. On the Mall, in the center of Washington, D.C., people gathered for Earthfest. At this second observance of Earth Day, participants and planners were not only college students but ordinary Americans of all ages and from all walks of life. Musicians performed songs about nature. Celebrities spoke about what Americans can do to recycle. Federal agencies offered expositions showing their efforts in stopping wasteful practices polluting the environment. Conservation groups taught the crowds about rain forests, and how their destruction could mean the destruction of large parts of the world. Although Earth Day is not a yearly federal holiday it has helped Americans realize that they can and should do something to protect the environment.

(Held for one day every April close to April 22nd or on that day)

An Earth Day Story by Kim Moon

The little boy walked dejectedly down the cracked sidewalk. His backpack was heavy and his feet were slow. He stayed to his path, pausing every now and then only to pick out a new can or wad of paper to kick as he went along his way. His heart felt as heavy as his backpack as he opened the door to his house and went inside.

His mother was in the kitchen, taking brownies out of the oven. She smiled as she turned around but stopped when she saw his face. "Tyler, what happened? Is everything okay?" "Nothing is okay, mom. Nothing will ever be okay again." He stood in the middle of the kitchen as his mother came over to the kitchen table. "Sounds like you had a rough day, Tyler. Is there anything I can do to help?" "That's just the thing, Mom. We can't help. There's nothing we can do." He sat down at the table and put his head in his hands. His mother sat down and waited a moment until Tyler began to speak again.

"Today, in science, the teacher was talking about Earth Day and the environment. Earth Day is supposed to be a day when every person promises to do something to help take care of our world. Mrs. Green was telling us how many companies are not careful about how they get rid of their industrial waste. She said that our world is getting dirtier and that many animals and plants are dying. She wants us to think of something we can do to help and I thought all the way home and there is nothing I can do. I can't stop the companies from polluting our air and water and I can't save all of the animals! There is not anything that I can do to make a difference."

His mother sat for a minute, thinking. "You sound like this really concerns you and that you have put a lot of thought into it, Tyler." Tyler nodded. "Let me tell you a story that your grandfather told me. I don't know where he heard it, but I think that it might help you think about your problem in a different way." She began, "one morning a man was walking down a beach that was covered in dying starfish. The tide the night before had been especially strong and thousands of starfish had been washed up on shore, too far up for them to make it back into the water by themselves. The man shook his head as he trudged along thinking what a shame it was that all of those starfish would die on the beach. He came upon a boy who was throwing starfish back into the ocean as fast as he could. He was out of breath and it was obvious that he had been at this task for a while. "Son," the man said, "you might as well quit. There are thousands of them. They are washed up all over the beach as far as you can see. There is no way you can make any sort of a difference." The boy did not even pause in what he was doing. He kept bending and throwing but as he did, he spoke to the man, "I can make a difference to this one, and this one, and this one." And the man thought, and he knew the boy was right. He began to help return the animals to their home, smiling at how life's biggest lessons sometimes came from the smallest people."

Tyler stared intently at his mother. "But he did make a difference, didn't he? To every starfish that he threw back in?" His mother nodded, smiling. He sat for a moment, thinking about what his mother had said. "So, what it means is that even though I can't change everything, I can make a big difference by doing the little things that matter?" "That," she said, sliding him the plate of brownies, "is exactly what I am saying." Tyler grinned and took a brownie from the plate. "That gives me an idea." His mother smiled even bigger and said, "I kind of thought that it might."

The next morning on the way to school, his feet hardly touched the ground. He told his teacher the story of the starfish and his idea. Mrs. Green thought it was a great idea, and decided to let Tyler share the story and his idea with the class. Everyone got to work immediately, cutting out the large green leaves.

On Earth Day, there was an assembly and everyone in the community was invited. Many of those gathered were startled to see the large brown tree trunk affixed to the auditorium wall. They sat, puzzled, and waited for the program to begin. A boy, dressed up to look like a man, walked across a stage filled with starfish. The play went on as Tyler and his class told of the story taking place. When it was over the audience applauded as Tyler stood at the podium.

"We were all thinking, and it was frustrating because we didn't think that we could do anything. The problems seemed too big for us to do anything about them. But we decided that together, even the little things we do could add up to mean a lot to our world." The kids began passing out the green leaves and pens to the audience. "We want every person to think of one thing they can do that could make a difference to our world. Even if it seems like something small, it will matter."
The audience began writing, and soon the tree was covered with the green leaves. Tyler and his class read many of them as they attached them to the tree.

"I will walk to work."
"I will use both sides of my paper to save trees." "I will have my pet neutered so there won't be any puppies born that won't have a home."
"I will plant a tree every year."
"I will start recycling my newspapers."

Tyler thought, and bent to write his promise on the leaf. Soon, the tree was beautiful and green and covered with the Earth Day promises. People were laughing and talking as they left, thinking of what they had promised to do.

When the dismissal bell rang, Tyler got his backpack and began the short walk home. As he reached the sidewalk, he pulled an old grocery bag from his backpack. He began picking up the trash as he made his way home, instead of kicking it. He smiled all the way, thinking of the difference they would make.

rm_stubby241 56M

4/22/2006 9:10 am

If only we could leave the world like it was when we arrived. It would be around for the next 4 billion years for generations to enjoy.

rm_Rico0825 54M
483 posts
4/22/2006 11:06 am

The surest and most American way to stop pollution is to boycott irresponsible companies. That is by not using their products and buying their stock.

Environmental laws have had a drastic effect, at least in Jersey. When I was a child you couldn't see your toes in 3" of water. Now you can see the river bed 6' to 10' deep in calm water.

Same for down the shore. Jersey has taken some bad press about the cleanliness of our beaches and water. The fact is Jersey was having more beach closures because our water standards were much stricter than NY, California, FLA. etc. And it again has had some remarkable effects.

As an active fishermen I pay close attention to our waters. And they really do seem to get cleaner by the rear.

Great post!!!

rm_MrRite23 45M
156 posts
4/22/2006 11:39 am

god i love earth day. I like to play hakky sack. And i love our spring time world out side.

SirMounts 102M

4/23/2006 5:28 am

Thank you so much for that, and especially for the background of Arbor Day. I was always curious about its origins, but never got around to looking it up on the net. It is always a good feeling to plant a tree. Something that with grow, benefit everyone and everything, and... last.
A warm welcome to blogging, dandelion. *smiling*

TabithaElectra79 38F

4/24/2006 9:21 am

" Earth Day is supposed to be a day when every person promises to do something to help take care of our world. "

Little changes can make a big difference...

rm_Kissmystuff 61F
1435 posts
4/24/2006 7:42 pm

Thanks for the information. I love to learn new things.



dandelion60540 106F
76 posts
4/25/2006 8:05 pm

Thank you for all your comments. I have been out of town so I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. I appreciate all of my readers and especially those that visit regularly.

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