What are Equinoxes? Why are they ideal Earth Action Days?

This NASA real image from space shows Earth at the moment of equinox. The Equator is exactly parallel to the Ecliptic, the plane of Earth’s orbit around the sun, so the noonday sun is vertically above the (shadowless) observer at the Equator.

Because Earth’s polar axis is tilted 23.5º to this plane, giving us our hemispherical seasons (tilted away from the sun for winter, towards in summer), equinox happens twice when the tilt is cancelled out on Earth’s annual orbital journey. Northward Equinox is on 20th or 21st March, the Northern Hemisphere’s Spring or Vernal Equinox; Southward Equinox on 22 or 23 September, our northern Autumnal Equinox.

Equi-nox comes from the Latin, meaning Equal Night – because at equinox exactly* half the planet is dark, half in the light. You can say that all life on Earth has a shared moment of equality at equinox, literally and metaphorically – hence EQ’s strapline and demo website Equal under the Sun.

EQ6 explains how early environmentalists nearly used the Vernal Equinox as the first Earth Day in 1969. A missed opportunity, for no other days have the advantages of equinoxes as calendar events to promote environmental action. This stems from three unique properties:

  1. Equinoxes are fixed planet events with their own neutral beyond-human authority
  2. We are Equal under the Sun at equinox*, to sense our shared destiny and purpose
  3. Biannual events double up on action. They will act as accelerators for change

from these USP’s other attributes accrue, explored in the following blogs, starting with EQ1, a suggested Four-Fold Pledge action template:

  • Equinoxes are universal, understood in all regions and cultures
  • Attuning to a planetary rhythm reconnects us to Nature
  • Taking the planetary Long View and seeing the Big Picture is at once humbling, clarifying and empowering. Collective action will reinforce a sense of global citizenship, of interdependence
  • Equinoctial common-sense logic bears down on irrational and delusional thinking
  • Equinoxes are natural recharge points and coincide with financial and educational audits
  • Slogans. Not just the media-friendly EQ logo, but many others, led by Spring into Action and Turn over a new Leaf.
© Martin Nelson September 3 2021
*The excellent website Time and Date will give you the moments of equinox (and solstice) for your town, with copious information on all things temporal and planetary – plus an article that explains that equal day and night at equinox is not entirely accurate…


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