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John McConnell (peace activist)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John McConnell
John McConnell Mar15 2008 cmm.jpg
McConnell in front of his home in Denver, Colorado, USA with the Earth Flag he designed
Born(1915-03-22)March 22, 1915
DiedOctober 20, 2012(2012-10-20) (aged 97)
NationalityAmerican
Known forFounder of Earth Day

John McConnell (March 22, 1915 – October 20, 2012[1]) was the founder and creator of Earth Day,[citation needed] with a passion for peace, religion, and science throughout his life. He originated and promoted ideas to relieve human suffering and promote the common good.[2][unreliable source?]

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Transcription

Each year, people from around the world celebrate Earth Day. What is Earth Day? When did this day begin? The origins of Earth Day can be traced to the 1960s. Several vocal activists were beginning to raise the public’s awareness about the problems of pollution and other environmental issues. Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was amongst the most influential books related to the impending dilemmas that the planet was facing. In 1968, Morton Hilbert, along with the U.S. Public Health Service, hosted the Human Ecology Symposium. The focus of this symposium was the state of the environment, and the effects on human health that the environment can have. This symposium helped lay the groundwork for what would eventually become the first Earth Day. Over the next two years, Hilbert, Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson, and environmentalist Denis Hayes worked to organize the first Earth Day, which took place in April of 1970. A similar celebration had also been organized earlier that year. On March 21, 1970, activist John McConnell helped organize a day to honor the Earth, and the concept of peace (this date was selected to coincide with the first day of spring). Eventually, these two different Earth Days would be unified into one holiday. The name “Earth Day” had been suggested by many different people, and it seemed an obvious choice for the name of this new holiday, primarily because it rhymed with birthday. The date of April 22 was chosen because it was recognized that college students would be amongst the most active participants. April 22 would not fall during Spring Break, yet, would be before final exams. This date would also prevent conflicts with the Easter and Passover holidays. Additionally, April 22 was very close to the date of John Muir’s birthday (April 21). Muir was one of the most prominent conservationists of the late 1800s. More than 2,000 colleges, and more than 10,000 public schools from across the nation participated in the first Earth Day. Some estimates claim that more than 20 million people took part in the festivities. More than a million people in New York City alone turned out for the demonstration. Originally, Earth Day was celebrated only once every ten years. By 1990, Earth Day had grown to a worldwide event, with more than 200 million people in 141 nations participating. After the success of the 1990 Earth Day, it was decided that Earth Day should be observed as a yearly event. Throughout the decade, the celebration of Earth Day helped bring a focus to environmental concerns such as the importance of recycling, climate change, and clean energy. Traditions associated with the holiday include the ringing of bells, including the Japanese Peace Bell, which was donated by the United Nations by Japan. It has also become traditional to sing the “Earth Anthem”, written by Abhay Kumar. This anthem has been translated into eight different languages, including English, Russian, French, Spanish and Chinese. There are many other ways Earth Day can be celebrated. Groups might choose to clean up a neighborhood park, plant trees, or go without driving for a day.

Contents

Early years

John McConnell was born on March 22, 1915 in Davis City, Iowa. He was the son of a Pentecostal preacher [3] and traveling doctor.[2] His first interest in the Earth began in 1939 while partnering with Albert Nobell, a chemist, in the Nobell Research Laboratory in Los Angeles that built a factory for manufacture of plastic.[2] Realizing how much the manufacture of plastic polluted the Earth, his concern for ecology grew, notably during this time when concern for the environment was rare. Afterward, he was a lifetime believer in care of the environment, founded on his Christian passion for peace and love. Leading into World War II, he believed that love and prayer could be more powerful than bombs.[2]

On October 31, 1957, soon after the first Sputnik, John 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.[2] This led him to create a Star of Hope organization to foster International Cooperation in Space.[4]

Major actions and campaigns

Peace activism

In 1959 to pursue his dream of peace, John McConnell moved to California where he and his co-publisher, Erling Toness, founded the "Mountain View." Along with the "Mountain View", he organized a very successful campaign in San Francisco titled "Meals for Millions." This campaign in 1962 was held to feed thousands of Hong Kong refugees. In 1963, after the "Meals for Millions" campaign, McConnell worked on another campaign called "Minute for Peace". He worked on "Minute for Peace" for seven years after "Meals for Millions." He began his "Minute for Peace" campaign with a broadcast on December 22, 1963, ending the mourning period for President John F. Kennedy. On June 26, 1965, McConnell spoke at the National Education Association Convention in Madison Square Garden where the public came together for a "Minute for Peace."[citation needed]

Earth Day

McConnell's concern for the environment grew in the late 1950s and early 1970s. A Christian, he believed humans have an obligation to take care of the earth, and to share its resources equally, based on such passages as Psalm 115:16, "The earth has been given to the children of men."[5] He was moved when he saw the first picture of the Earth printed in Life magazine. Later that picture became the symbol on the Earth Day flag which he designed and created. The Earth Day Flag was featured in the "Whole Earth Catalogue" and has been used ever since, all around the world, to show support of efforts to help people and planet.[4] The Earth Day Flag is a symbol of Earth Day and is still part of the Earth Day Ceremony each year on the spring equinox at the United Nations.

In October 1969, at the National UNESCO Conference in San Francisco, McConnell proposed a global holiday to celebrate Earth's life and beauty and to advance peace. Along with the celebration of life on Earth, he intended Earth Day to alert earthlings about the need for preserving and renewing the threatened ecological balances upon which all life on Earth depends. The proposal won strong support and was followed by an Earth Day Proclamation by the City of San Francisco on March 1, 1970, Honor the Earth [1] and the very first celebration of Earth Day on March 21, 1970.[2] In June 1970, McConnell created the Earth Day Proclamation for worldwide use and awareness. The Earth Day Proclamation declared the principles and responsibilities the signers undertook to care for the Earth. It was signed by 36 world leaders, including UN Secretary General U Thant, Margaret Mead, John Gardner and others. The last signature by Mikhail Gorbachev was added in 2000.[2]

The spring equinox Earth Day is celebrated around the world in many cities with ringing of peace bells. Earth Day has been celebrated annually on the spring equinox for 43 years at the United Nations with ringing of the UN Peace Bell. The practice began in 1971 when UN Secretary General U Thant rang the UN Peace Bell and issued a proclamation declaring Earth Day on the equinox.[2] Ringing a Peace Bell has occurred in Vienna, Berlin, and elsewhere. A memorable event took place at the UN in Geneva in 2011, celebrating a Minute for Peace ringing the Japanese Shinagawa Peace Bell with the help of the Geneva Friendship Association and the Global Youth Foundation[6] directly after deep mourning about the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster 10 days before.

Beside the spring equinox for the Northern Hemisphere, the spring equinox for the Southern Hemisphere has also been observed. The International Day of Peace[7] is celebrated on the spring equinox of the Southern Hemisphere, consistent with the original intentions of John McConnell and others to promote world peace.

Affiliations

Note that John McConnell is not associated with self-proclaimed Earthday Co-founder, Ira Einhorn[8] or self-proclaimed Earthday founder Senator Gaylord Nelson.[9] McConnell claims that Nelson took his Earth Day name without permission. [10]

See also

References

  1. ^ Megan Mitchell (October 28, 2012). "Vagabond youth led Earth Day founder John McConnell to life of peace". The Denver Post. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h John McConnell autobiography
  3. ^ http://ifphc.org/pdf//Heritage/2010.pdf
  4. ^ a b "Bill McConnell autobiography". Earthsite.org. Retrieved October 28, 2012.
  5. ^ Sparks and Rogers. "John McConnell, Jr. and the Pentecostal Origins of Earth Day" (PDF). Assemblies of God Heritage. Retrieved April 20, 2012.
  6. ^ "Seeds of Change - Heiner Benking's Blog - quergeist.info". Newciv.org. March 21, 2011. Retrieved October 28, 2012.
  7. ^ "International Day of Peace, 21 September 2012". Un.org. September 21, 2012. Retrieved October 28, 2012.
  8. ^ Melina, Remy (April 21, 2011). "Earth Day leader killed, composted girlfriend". MSNBC. Retrieved October 28, 2012.
  9. ^ http://wilderness.org/content/gaylord-nelson
  10. ^ http://ifphc.org/pdf//Heritage/2010.pdf

External links

This page was last edited on 9 October 2019, at 17:49
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