On This Day
1970 – The first Earth Day is celebrated.
Earth Day is an annual event celebrated around the world on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. First celebrated in 1970, it now includes events coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network in more than 193 countries.
In 1969 at a UNESCO Conference in San Francisco, peace activist John McConnell proposed a day to honor the Earth and the concept of peace, to first be celebrated on March 21, 1970, the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere. This day of nature’s equipoise was later sanctioned in a proclamation written by McConnell and signed by Secretary General U Thant at the United Nations. A month later a United States Senator Gaylord Nelson proposed the idea to hold a nationwide environmental teach-in on April 22, 1970. He hired a young activist, Denis Hayes, to be the National Coordinator. Nelson and Hayes renamed the event “Earth Day.” Nelson was later awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom award in recognition of his work. The first Earth Day was focused on the United States. In 1990, Denis Hayes, the original national coordinator in 1970, took it international and organized events in 141 nations.
On Earth Day 2016, the landmark Paris Agreement was signed by the United States, China, and some 120 other countries. This signing satisfied a key requirement for the entry into force of the historic draft climate protection treaty adopted by consensus of the 195 nations present at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.
Numerous communities celebrate Earth Day Week, an entire week of activities focused on the environmental issues that the world faces.
Born On This Day
1943 – Louise Glück, American poet
Louise Elisabeth Glück (born April 22, 1943) is an American poet and essayist. One of the most prominent American poets of her generation, she has won many major literary awards in the United States, including the National Humanities Medal, Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and Bollingen Prize, among others. From 2003 to 2004, she was Poet Laureate of the United States. Glück is often described as an autobiographical poet; her work is known for its emotional intensity and for frequently drawing on myth, history, or nature to meditate on personal experiences and modern life.
Glück was born in New York City and raised on New York’s Long Island. She began to suffer from anorexia nervosa while in high school and later overcame the illness. She took classes at Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University but did not obtain a degree. In addition to her career as an author, she has had a career in academia as a teacher of poetry at several institutions.
In her work, Glück has focused on illuminating aspects of trauma, desire, and nature. In exploring these broad themes, her poetry has become known for its frank expressions of sadness and isolation. Scholars have also focused on her construction of poetic personas and the relationship, in her poems, between autobiography and classical myth.
Currently, Glück is an adjunct professor and Rosenkranz Writer in Residence at Yale University. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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