Spring Equinox: 51 Years ago the First (forgotten) Earth Day

These words of the famous anthropologist Margaret Mead – who with others 50 years ago in 1969 chose this fixed event in the calendar to be the first Earth Day – apply precisely to the equinox.

The Spring Equinox is a natural Earth Day, with a host of advantages built in. Not only that, it has a twin on the other side of the year: the Autumnal Equinox (September 23).

We have so many problems to solve that cross boundaries, continents and oceans – right now, COVID-19, but above all, a climate crisis. That’s why Earth Days are needed more than ever – and with two equinoxes you get twice the frequency, double the value.

And yet the early environment movement missed these unique advantages of Equinoxes – that they are actual Earth Days, during which we share a moment of equality.  The following year, 1970, Earth Day was officially established on April 22, as a date better suited to the US school calendar.

Equinoxes have been left unused for half a century; now is the time to reclaim them.

© Martin Nelson March 2019
Image credit: Ed Dunens, Vernal Equinox Sunrise — reproduced under this Creative Commons license.

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