Earth Day – how was it for you? Its impact could be quadrupled…

Yesterday – April 22nd – was the 55th Earth Day. It has been impinging here in the UK more over recent years, but you might not have noted it. If you did, did you pledge to change or act? Initiate something? Perhaps as tellingly, did you feel reassured, less helpless and panicky in the face of looming environmental threats?

Earth Day is an important calendar event, but it is an arbitrary date chosen by the nascent environment movement in 1970, championed by Senator Gaylord Nelson (no relation) to fit better into the US educational year than the previously chosen Vernal Equinox. The trouble is since then a plethora of Days have filled the calendar – usually several each day. The BBC radio 4 programme Room 101 recently consigned the overworked concept of International Day of… to Orwell’s 1984 basement in the Ministry of Love. EQ agrees.

Equinoxes sit above and beyond this babel; we now know by analysis of their monuments equinoxes and solstices were well understood and celebrated by our Neolithic ancestors long before written calendars and approximated time schedules. As we career into the Anthropocene – the geologic era when human-induced change to climate and biosphere is undeniable – we need all the tools at our disposal to retain control of the Goldilocks conditions we have inherited but are putting at risk. Such is our ingenuity a host of solutions exist and continue to arise, but siren voices of delusion – even malice-of-forethoughtlessness – threaten to derail these efforts. We need clarity of collective purpose; surely the days when we are equal under the sun can give us that message loud and clear?

EQ’s promo film got a great reception when published for the autumn equinox 2023, but when filming on the previous spring equinox, the weather robbed us of one clear image: that of the sun setting due west at precisely 6 o’clock (sundial-time that is; not approximated GMT). This is a universal moment at equinox, along with the dawn due east twelve hours before. And so with only a small chance of success (it’s been a tough spring, weather-wise…) James and I risked it and revisited lovely Brean Beach and Down again.

The previous blog teased: did the setting sun reappear after it disappeared behind a bank of cloud? The featured image is the answer. Yes it did, briefly, beautifully, illuminating the cloud base before dipping into the Bristol Channel. We could have shot it gliding below South Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic or Antarctic horizons: it would have been the same image, the same (solar) time, the same due westerly direction. It accompanies Seamus Heaney’s encapsulation of EQ’s inspiration and purpose perfectly:

EQ stems from and pays into a big simple truth

It’s only a small change but makes the movie even more compelling. Please click the image below to view:

Pictures speak louder than words; I hope this short improvised intertidal movie makes the case that twinned non-arbitrary calendar events will more than double the positive effects of Earth Day. Can we dream of quadrupling it?

One other thing: that new logo lovingly drawn in the sand, only to be erased hours later? It is now a registered trade mark ®.

© Martin Nelson. 23rd April 2024
eQ ® registered to WMO Nelson
® registered to Equinoctial Days Ltd.

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